Belfast Telegraph

Just 71% of NI's commuters are 'satisfied' with public transport

High fares and an irregular service are putting people off using public transport in Northern Ireland, according to a new survey (stock photo)
High fares and an irregular service are putting people off using public transport in Northern Ireland, according to a new survey (stock photo)
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

High fares and an irregular service are putting people off using public transport in Northern Ireland, according to a new survey.

Statistics compiled for the NI Department for Infrastructure's (DfI) Walking, Cycling and Public Transport Report for 2018-19 show that only 71% of commuters are satisfied with public transport in their area.

The figures were compiled from a sample survey of almost 3,000 adults aged 16 and over.

Of the respondents who were not satisfied with public transport, the most common reasons were 'not enough services' (68%), 'no direct services' (40%) and 'times not suitable' (34%).

People who were discouraged from using public transport said it 'takes too long - the car is quicker' (36%), that the 'location of pick up points is too far away' (23%) and 'prices are too high' (15%).

Satisfaction with public transport was highest in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area (78%) and lowest in Fermanagh and Omagh (61%).

Responding to the survey, Translink said 84.5 million passenger journeys were made on its services last year - the highest in over 20 years.

A spokesperson added: "This is the third year in succession there has been strong growth.

"Last year alone we carried 3.4m additional passenger journeys removing over 2.8m car journeys from our roads. We are pleased to see that 71% of respondents to the survey are satisfied with public transport.

"North Belfast Metro services and northbound Ulsterbus departures from Belfast experienced a difficult operating environment for a nine-month period due to the closure of Royal Avenue, which led to route diversions and longer journey times."

Meanwhile, 53% of those surveyed said they were satisfied with the current situation for cycling in their area.

Two thirds said their main issue is 'no cycle lanes', followed by 'traffic goes too fast' (42%) and 'too much traffic' (42%).

The main reasons people were discouraged from cycling were 'don't own/have access to a bicycle' (55%), 'too dangerous' (22%) and 'health/mobility make it impossible' (16%).

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