Belfast Telegraph

Rail and walking on the rise, new travel statistics confirm

By Linda Stewart

Rail is on the rise - at least that's what the latest travel statistics suggest.

On average, people in Northern Ireland made seven journeys a year by rail from 2013-15, a rise from five in 2011-2013.

We're also travelling further by rail - the latest travel survey for Northern Ireland for 2013-2015 shows that rail accounted for 128 miles per person, per year, compared to 96 in 2010-2012.

The survey shows that over 2013-15, each person in Northern Ireland travelled on average 5,827 miles a year, with an average of 901 journeys per person per year.

Of these, 645 were car journeys, 160 were walking, 31 were on Metro or Ulsterbus and five were on bicycle.

Financial controller Jan van Hooijdonk says he is travelling more on trains after moving to a Belfast city centre workplace that is closer to a railway station.

"I travel from Balmoral to Belfast Central. My train travel has increased and I take the train most days as congestion on roads in south Belfast means that car journey can take twice as long as the train," he said.

"The train is on time most days, I can get a seat and the Wi-Fi mostly works too. The only pain is having to change at Great Victoria Street on the way home as the train from Central doesn't stop at Balmoral."

Zoe Anderson commutes by rail from Carrickfergus to Central Station and walks the rest of the way to the Cathedral Quarter.

She said: "For me the benefits are huge - I can work, read, eat, talk to friends, play games on my phone or even sleep on the train.

"The new trains are really comfy and it's good value for money as I use my ticket on weekends too. It's also improving in ways to pay - I buy and use my ticket on my phone. They could still improve the services though - especially on Sundays."

The new survey shows that over 2013-2015, each person in Northern Ireland travelled on average 5,827 miles a year, similar to 2012-2014 (5,958 miles).

The average journey length for 2013-2015 was 6.5 miles, similar to 2012-2014 (6.6 miles).

In 2013-2015, 23% of journeys were made for leisure, 18% for shopping, 15% for commuting and 12% for personal business (for services such as bank, doctor or library). This is in line with results from previous years.

The number of walking journeys per person, per year averaged 160 (18% of journeys), an increase on 143 in 2010-2012.

In terms of miles travelled, 31% of the distance travelled was for leisure purposes, 21% for commuting, 13% for shopping and 11% for personal business -similar to recent years.

In 2013-2015, the most commonly used method of travel to or from school for the 4-11 age group was car (55%), followed by walking or cycling (31%) and the bus (14%).

For 12 to 18-year-olds, top travel method was bus (48%), followed by car (33%), and then walking or cycling (18%).

The report is at

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