Translink is to take delivery of 28 new high specification Ulsterbus double deckers this summer to launch its new 'Urby' service.
The new buses will operate on key commuter routes between outlying towns including park and ride routes and Belfast as part of the new service.
Translink said they will have a modern and striking new-look livery and come with a range of enhanced on board customer features.
The order represents an investment of around £6.7million.
Chris Conway, Translink Group chief executive explained: “We are looking forward to introducing these new vehicles. They will offer the highest levels of comfort with new features such as leather seats, USB charging points and free WiFi. We are also piloting innovative mobile cradle devices on seat backs on some vehicles – this facility is a first in the UK.
“The introduction of these vehicles gives us the opportunity to launch a new service brand – Urby, inspired by the number of ‘smarter’ travellers living outside the city and looking for a better way to commute and connect with the city to get more ‘me time’ and enjoy a more active and healthier travel option compared to the car.
“These new vehicles will roll out on busy commuter routes over the coming months including Ballyclare, Newtownards, Lisburn, Carryduff and Finaghy including park and ride routes from Blacks Road, Sprucefield and Cairnshill, marking the start of our plans for Ulsterbus Urby routes.
“We carried record passenger numbers last year – topping 81million and want to encourage even more people to join the ‘smartmover generation’. We are grateful for this Department for Infrastructure investment, further demonstrating our commitment to transforming public transport to be your first choice for travel in Northern Ireland.
“However, in order to maintain our high standards, we do need to establish a sustained programme of fleet replacement to maintain the quality, comfort and accessibility of our fleet. It is also important to keep up with the latest technology and environmental features - these new vehicles will be among the most fuel efficient and eco-friendly buses operating in Northern Ireland helping to improve local air quality,” he said.
Mark Nodder, Wrights Group chairman added: “We are proud to be delivering the first of a new fleet of double decker buses for Translink.
"The buses are state of the art in terms of specification, performance and emissions. They look fantastic in the new Urby livery, and are sure to turn heads when they enter service.
"At a time when the UK market for new buses has come under pressure the support of Translink and the Department for Infrastructure is particularly welcome, and this order helps our workforce in Ballymena and the wider supply chain in Northern Ireland and the UK.”