Belfast Telegraph

Price freeze on train and bus fares in 2014

By CLAIRE MCNEILLY

The Northern Ireland minister responsible for transport has promised an "absolute freeze" on bus and train fares in 2014.

Danny Kennedy made the announcement yesterday, saying the move was possible because of "record levels of passenger growth".

He added that bus fares would remain the same despite a forecast 3% hike during 2014, and he said rail fares will also be held at current levels.

"This announcement will have a positive impact on economic recovery," said Mr Kennedy.

"Bus and train users are being rightly rewarded for supporting Translink during 2013 and increasing passenger journeys to record levels.

"Transport for London recently boasted of their good news story of a 2014 fare freeze in real terms – we have gone one better, an absolute freeze and a decrease in real terms." The minster said that Translink, Northern Ireland's public transport provider, had performed better than predicted and that had enabled the company "to pass on the benefits to their thousands of customers".

"I want to congratulate them for this performance and all their efforts in delivering a high quality public transport system," he added.

"When I became minister I promised to focus on developing and improving public transport.

"It is clear that this policy is working and buses and trains are increasingly attractive, affordable and accessible."

Stormont regional development committee chairman Jimmy Spratt welcomed the price freeze, but said it raised questions over the company's money management capabilities.

"The decision to hold prices next year is good news for commuters but it begs the question as to why they increased prices fares by up to 8% earlier this year?" Mr Spratt said.

Translink group chief executive Catherine Mason said she hoped the news would encourage a further uptake in the use of public transport.

"This is the second time we have frozen our fares in recent years and is down to good business management and increasing passengers on board," Ms Mason said.

"We hope more and more people will look at the cost savings and benefits of using the bus and train as the better travel option."

For more details visit: http://www.translink.co.uk

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