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Just 5% of journeys in Northern Ireland made using public transport: survey

 

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Only one in 20 journeys in Northern Ireland are made using public transport, new figures show

Only one in 20 journeys in Northern Ireland are made using public transport, new figures show

Only one in 20 journeys in Northern Ireland are made using public transport, new figures show

Only one in 20 journeys in Northern Ireland are made using public transport, new figures show.

Statistics compiled for the Department for Infrastructure's (DfI) Travel Survey report for 2015-2017 show each person travelled an average of 5,653 miles annually during this time.

The figures were compiled through a sample survey of around 1,000 households in the province over three years.

As in previous years, they reveal that the vast majority of all trips (70%) are still being made by car. Only 5% of journeys were on buses, trains and taxis.

Even fewer (1%) used the healthier and more environmentally friendly option of cycling while 19% of trips were on foot.

Only 17% of people surveyed said they travelled on a bus once a week or more while 3% said they used the train once a week or more.

The survey also looked at the factors influencing which mode of transport people choose, with Northern Ireland's often cold and unpredictable climate playing a key role.

Many of those surveyed said better weather would encourage them to cycle or walk more.

A quarter said "cheaper fares" would make them use public transport more often along with more destinations and frequent services being offered. Geography also plays a key role in how people in Northern Ireland travel. Some 77% of all rural residents' journeys were made by car in 2015-2017, compared to 65% for those living in urban areas.

On average, those in rural areas also travelled more than 2,500 miles per year further than those living in towns and cities. Responding to the figures, Green Party leader Clare Bailey MLA told the Belfast Telegraph: "The 5% figure is stark and many people across Northern Ireland are car-dependent. However, only 35% of the journeys under analysis had a public transport option.

"We know that people will use public transport and active travel like walking or cycling when it is affordable, safe and accessible.

"Government and policy makers must invest in high quality public transport and active travel options to get us out of the car and improve our quality of life in the process."

A spokesperson for Translink said: "Last year, 81 million passenger journeys were made on Translink services, the highest number in the last 20 years, and this year we are on target to exceed this.

"For context, the DfI Travel Survey statistics measure all journeys including those where public transport would not be practical or cost-effective or those that are very short.

"The survey shows a significant increase in public transport use in urban areas. For example 11% of journeys in Belfast and 9% of longer journeys of 10-25 miles are also made on public transport.

"These are the areas where we have been investing such as the introduction of Glider in Belfast with numbers up by over 25% since it started. Also, rail, Ulsterbus, Goldline and Urby services operating to and from Belfast continue to grow in popularity."

The spokesperson added: "With sustained investment, we will continue to focus on delivering attractive services to encourage even more people to make the switch to public transport."

Belfast Telegraph