Belfast Telegraph

£5.8million EU funding – Just the ticket for 53 new buses

Stormont Executive press release - Department for Regional Development

Transport Minister, Danny Kennedy and Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster have announced that they have secured an EU investment of £5.8million to help meet the cost of 53 recently purchased Translink buses and coaches.

The successful bid for EU funding is the result of inter-departmental working between the Department for Regional Development (DRD) and the Department for Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI). Matching DRD’s investment of the same amount, the funding boost was secured through the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland which is administered by DETI.

Speaking at the Europa Buscentre in Belfast, Danny Kennedy said: “The introduction earlier this year of 53 new buses and coaches into the Translink fleet is making public transport an even more attractive option.

“These new vehicles are already delivering greater comfort and accessibility for passengers.

“They have replaced older vehicles and comply with modern European emission standards helping Translink further reduce the environmental impact of the fleet.

“Securing EU support to part fund this investment will benefit passengers for many years to come.”

The EU investment has been used in the purchase of 39 Goldline Coaches and 14 Double Deck Metro buses.

Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster said: Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster said: “The fact that my Department has been able to help DRD obtain this EU funding to upgrade the Metro and Goldline fleet is very welcome news. With parts of the contract for the work to supply the Metro buses going to Wrightbus in Ballymena, there are clear benefits to the Northern Ireland economy and the investment will undoubtedly help support local jobs.

“Securing the EU funding for the project demonstrates good inter-departmental cooperation in addressing key executive priorities.”

With the latest upgrades to the Translink fleet now in service, passengers are already enjoying the new benefits.

John Trethowan, Chairman of the Translink Group said: “We welcome this EU funding and thank the Ministers and their Departments for their support. We have received very positive feedback from our customers regarding the new vehicles. Passengers now make an additional 22,000 journeys on Metro every month and Goldline coach customers are also up by 6% on last year. These results clearly show more people are choosing to use our bus and coach services for their everyday journeys.

“This success is the result of continued investment together with great customer care. In particular our Goldline coach customers tell us they are enjoying the free on board WiFi, leather seats, additional legroom and great value.

“The new Metro buses in our fleet now makes Metro Services 100% wheelchair accessible and the additional double decker vehicles now allow us to enhance capacity on busy routes.

“We aim to build on our success by attracting even more customers to take advantage of the convenience, comfort and cost savings available with bus and coach travel.”

The new coaches and buses came into service over the last few months and are being used on Northern Ireland and cross border routes.

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