Belfast Telegraph

Ethan (13) in the pink after being the first to ride every Belfast Metro route

Ethan Turner
Ethan Turner
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A Belfast schoolboy has become the first person to travel on all of the city's Metro bus routes.

It may have taken over two years and more than 100 journeys on the distinctive pink double-deckers, but Ethan Turner (13) is celebrating his record-breaking achievement after making public transport his first choice for travel.

While some Translink drivers will have travelled across the 12 Metro corridors, Ethan is officially the first member of the public to do so.

He has kept a logbook with every ticket from his 110 journeys from first to last service, some of which began as early as 5.17am and ended around midnight.

The Methodist College student was inspired to take on the challenge after a London Tube enthusiast set a world record for visiting all 270 stations on the Underground in the fastest time.

In 2013 Geoff Marshall and travel companion Anthony Smith completed the record in 16 hours, 20 minutes and 27 seconds.

Ethan's father David (50) says his son became a big fan of public transport systems after numerous visits to London.

"We have travelled over to London many times and Ethan has been able to totally memorise the Tube map from start to finish," he explained.

"He knows every single stop and can direct you from one station to another instantly, and tell you where to change lines.

"The Underground just totally captured his imagination and he then developed a real interest in the Belfast Metro system."

Ethan started his challenge aged 11 and, for safety reasons, it was initially a family affair with mum Andrea and grandmother Norma McClure accompanying him on his journeys with David.

"There were some very obscure routes in the early hours and late at night specifically for certain workers, so I was driving behind the bus to make sure he got there safely," his dad added.

"Ethan was always very specific about each journey and having the ticket to prove that he had done it.

"Some of the bus routes also only operated on bank holidays, so he had to always find a way to get that one done.

"It also included a few Glider trips if they happened to be on the Metro timetable.

"Many of the bus drivers got to know Ethan as he travelled on the Metro and they were always very encouraging as he worked his way around all the routes.

"Some of them may have thought he would never finish the challenge, but he finally got there earlier this week.

"Ethan has been really clever and very committed throughout and he's always been like that.

"Once he gets his teeth into something there's no stopping him."

For his next challenge, he wants to travel to every local train station in a single day.

"Ethan hopes to complete this in one day over the summer holidays, and since there aren't that many stations, it's possible," his dad added.

"I'm sure once that's done he'll soon find another transport challenge to try out."

Translink chief executive Chris Conway praised the schoolboy's "fantastic achievement".

"Ethan has shown determination and enthusiasm to achieve his goal of becoming the first person to travel every Belfast Metro route and I would like to personally congratulate him," he said.

"I look forward to seeing his logbook of journeys and meeting him during Bus and Train Week next week."

Belfast Telegraph

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