Belfast Telegraph

Over £14million investment secured for 79 new buses

Stormont Executive press release - Department for Regional Development

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster have announced that they have secured an EU investment of £5.2million towards the over £14million investment to help meet the cost of 79 new buses.

The successful bid for EU funding is the result of inter-departmental working between the Department for Regional Development (DRD) and the Department for Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI). The funding boost has been secured through the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland which is administered by DETI. 

The investment will go towards the purchase of 42 Metro double deck buses, ten Metro single deck buses and 27 midi buses (2 Metro and 25 Ulsterbus). Some of the new Metro vehicles will arrive in the Summer with the remainder arriving in the Autumn.

Minister Danny Kennedy said: “The new buses will make public transport an even more attractive option. Investment in new buses helps to maintain fleet age and accessibility targets and maintain service standards for customers.

“The new buses will replace older vehicles and comply with modern European emission standards helping Translink further reduce the environmental impact of the fleet. Securing EU support to part fund this investment will benefit passengers for many years to come.

“Volvo is supplying 42 Wrightbus double deck buses for Metro. Optare will provide the ten single deck Metro buses and 27 midi buses.

“Translink will fund £4million for a further 20 single deck buses bringing the total number of new buses to 99 with a total investment of £18million. The procurement for these is due to start in the coming months with delivery expected 2015.”

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said: “This is very welcome news. Wrightbus in Ballymena continue to provide employment through their contract for Metro buses so this latest investment will continue to support local jobs and ultimately contribute to the Northern Ireland economy.

“Both my department and the Department for Regional Development recognise the benefits of investing in our public transport systems and securing this significant EU funding demonstrates good inter-departmental cooperation in addressing key executive priorities.”

Ciaran Doherty, Translink General Manager, Bus Services said: “We very much welcome this investment and EU funding and thank the Ministers and their Departments for their support. 

“These new vehicles will not only be in line with our high fleet standards in terms of quality and comfort but will be even more fuel efficient and more environmentally-friendly with much lower air quality emissions. This is good news for our local towns and cities, helping to improve the overall local air quality and providing a healthier environment for all. 

“Together with great value fares, this investment will allow us to build on our success by attracting even more customers to travel more sustainably and take advantage of the convenience, comfort and cost savings available with bus travel.”

Notes to editors:

1. Optare is a Leeds-based company, designing and building buses in the UK. It is a subsidiary of Leyland Ashok. 

2. Volvo is a Swedish multinational company with a significant presence in the UK. It manufactures bus chassis throughout the world, and is main contractor for this contract. Wrightbus is a Ballymena-based company, designing and building both complete buses and body-only systems. Wrightbus is the sub-contractor on this contract, building the body onto the Volvo-supplied chassis.

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