Twenty three new interurban coaches on key Ulsterbus routes
Stormont Executive press release - Department for Regional Development
Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy today officially announced a £4.5million investment in 23 new interurban coaches for use on key Ulsterbus routes.
Speaking at the Europa Buscentre in Belfast where he viewed one of the new coaches, Danny Kennedy said: “My Department has provided funding in excess of £4.5million which has allowed Translink to purchase 23 new Interurban Coaches. The buses are being introduced to passenger services this month on key Ulsterbus routes across Northern Ireland.”
Minister Kennedy said: “The new coaches meet high standards in terms of comfortable seating, modern interior design, wheelchair accessibility and they comply with European emission standards (Euro v). A key objective in investing in public transport is to encourage commuters and other travellers to use public transport for their journeys instead of the private car. These buses which offer a modern attractive transport option will contribute to that goal.
“My Department continues to invest in the purchase of new buses to help Translink upgrade its fleet. Since 2005, over a thousand Metro, Ulsterbus and Goldline buses have been purchased improving fleet age and accessibility. The investment has helped to ensure bus passenger numbers continue to grow with close to 70 million passenger journeys last year. This year to date, Metro and Ulsterbus have both seen an increase in passengers (Metro 123,000 and Ulsterbus 102,000) and NI Rail has seen an increase in passengers of 653,000.
“Further investment is planned this year with over £10million to be spent on 79 new Ulsterbus and Metro buses.”
Catherine Mason, Translink Group Chief Executive said: “This is the first time we have operated these kind of buses on interurban services and we are already getting some great feedback from our customers who are enjoying the enhanced levels of quality and comfort on board.
“Their introduction will no doubt help to make bus travel even more attractive to those people who want to access their local town or city to work, shop or study. As such we hope many more people give their local bus service a try and ultimately make it their preferred way to travel.
“We have seen much investment in our fleet over the last year with the introduction of our new Goldline coaches for express services, Metro buses in Belfast and now this investment in Ulsterbus interurban services. We thank the Minister and his Department for their on-going support in this area.
“These new vehicles together with our customer focused approach is getting results as passenger numbers continue to grow - in the last year Goldline coach passengers were up by 6% and over half a million journeys are now made on Metro services in Belfast every week. With this new fleet we hope to build on this success attracting even more customers to take advantage of the convenience, comfort and cost savings available with bus and coach travel,” she concluded.
The areas which will benefit from the new coaches include Antrim, Larne, Coleraine, Newtownards, Bangor, Armagh, Newcastle, Belfast, Londonderry, Magherafelt and Dungannon.
Belfast Telegraph Digital