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Continuing to provide the existing level of public transport services

Monday 29 January 2018
Last week, we took the opportunity to respond to the budgetary outlook briefing paper published by the Department of Finance, which outlined a number of potential budget scenarios and the impact on our services from 2019/20 if sufficient funding is not made available. However, it is important to point out that Translink is continuing to provide the existing level of public transport services, including socially necessary rural bus services, and we do not have a plan to cut services at this time.

Instead, we are working hard to deliver on our strategy of efficient growth (we carried 1.5m additional fare-paying passengers last year) while building the case for funding socially necessary services (as mentioned last week, we have received £9.3m of additional funding in 2017/18). However, we know that drawing on our reserves is not sustainable and therefore, we have been proactively engaging with key stakeholders and the media to raise the profile of the benefits of investing in public transport – its importance to the development of our economy and to guaranteeing access to our health and education services for everyone, as well as reducing congestion and supporting environmental benefits
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"Proactively engaging with key stakeholders to raise the profile of the benefits of investing in public transport "

A good example of how investment supports the use of public transport is on the Derry-Londonderry line, where an investment in an hourly service between Derry-Londonderry and Coleraine has grown passengers by around a third in the first six months. I was pleased to visit the North-West last Thursday to speak to stakeholders, including local elected representatives, about our latest project in the region – the North-West Multi-Modal Transport Hub.

Our ambitious plans will see the former listed Victorian Waterside Train Station restored and transformed for modern day use with a focus on promoting sustainable active travel. We are very excited about this project, which will be a key gateway for the North-West, including cross-border into Donegal. It is a further positive investment for the city; approximately £27m in funding has been secured from the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, as well as from DfI and the Irish government. This investment sits alongside other recent track and fleet investments in the area worth around £55 million, all helping to fulfil our vision to make public transport your first choice for travel in Northern Ireland.

This week I also met with Mencap and GroundworkNI to explore some interesting new community support initiatives. 

Mencap is developing virtual reality technologies to help educate people with learning disabilities accessing public transport. We will be partnering with them on this innovative project that will help to improve the self-confidence of people with a learning disability, supporting them to #getonboard and participate fully in society.

I also met with GroundworkNI, who are already partnering with us to enhance the landscape around Yorkgate Train Station and we are now looking at how they can support us to improve the environment at other stations across our network, also working with schools and local communities.

Finally, we were delighted that our partnership with Young at Art recently scooped an Allianz Arts and Business NI 2018 Award in recognition of our #creativejourney activities to support the Belfast Children’s Festival, deliver school outreach activities for the Belfast Hub project and entertain our customers during campaigns like Bus + Train Week. We look forward to building on this relationship over the coming year.

 
 
 
 
Chris Conway
Chris Conway
Group Chief Executive
Published
23/01/2018

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