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Translink under fire for 1.6% hike in bus and rail fares

By Cate McCurry

Translink has been hit by criticism over plans to increase prices on its rail and bus services.

The public transport company will raise prices by around 1.6% this March.

The firm defended its decision by saying that it followed a two-year fare freeze, and that the increase was below the rate of inflation.

However, the Consumer Council said it was "disappointed" at the move and urged customers to use money-saving passes.

Fare changes will take place on Metro, NI Railways and Ulsterbus services and will take effect from Monday, March 27.

Translink group chief executive Chris Conway said: "We will have held our fares for over two years through good business management and a keen focus on cost efficiency; we know many of our passengers appreciated this.

"These measures have meant we are able to maintain value for money by keeping fares low.

"We have also maintained everyday value Smartlink multi-journey discounts of around 30% for bus travel compared to paying cash fares, and recently introduced more popular mobile ticketing options to offer customers even greater choice and convenience."

Scott Kennerley, head of transport at the Consumer Council, advised customers to ensure they were receiving the best value for their journey.

He said: "Although we are naturally disappointed that prices are increasing, we understand the rationale behind this change.

"Our message to consumers is that savings still can be made if they use multi-journey or weekly/monthly passes."

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