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Bus and Train Week 2018 Planning Underway

Monday 19 Febraury 2018
I started last week by meeting with the bus scheduling team. It was great to meet with the ‘invisible heroes’, working hard in the background to make sure that all our bus services are scheduled to maximise customer service and efficiency. This is a critical role for the business and we discussed opportunities to better use technology, develop new talent in this specialist role and support for the team.
"Shaping NI infrastructure and strengthening our reputation for innovation"

Later in the week, I met with more ‘invisible heroes’; the project managers who are planning signalling improvement projects over the next few years. These are important projects which will improve the reliability and resilience of our signalling network and overall rail infrastructure. We discussed some of the technical challenges with these projects and the funding requirements.

Last week, I also reviewed the feedback we receive on social media. The data over the last three months shows that we are improving customer satisfaction with Translink services. However, it also gave us an insight into the areas for improvement, including the reliability and punctuality of our services and how we communicate with our customers through social media and real-time passenger information on our journey planner. The data also highlighted the key role of front line colleagues in customer satisfaction; even when things go wrong, a pleasant and friendly driver, conductor or customer service person can make all the difference.

On Valentine’s Day, we launched our Corporate Challenge, encouraging business to ‘fall in love’ with bus and train travel.  This generated some novel social media posts and was a fun way to engage with local employers to encourage their staff to leave the car behind during Bus and Train Week, running between 4-10 June, and give public transport a go. We will be building momentum around this over the coming months to demonstrate the role public transport plays in reducing congestion on our roads, supporting economic growth and improving quality of life. 

Last year’s event was a great success, with over 250,000 extra journeys recorded and a full range of community activities, including musical performances, school visits, and much more. I’m certain that 2018 can be bigger and better still with the Translink SPIRIT in evidence again this year right across the organisation.

We’ve also announced details of our recent bus order with Wrightbus, having recently signed a framework contract with the company to supply buses over the next five years. The first order under this framework has been placed, for 28 new double deck buses; this is an investment of around £6.7m. These vehicles are in manufacture and we await their arrival this summer. They will be built utilising the Wrightbus micro-hybrid technology, making them some of the most environmentally friendly vehicles in our fleet.

The countdown to Glider is well and truly on, and our wide-ranging programme of community engagement is underway, with information events last week at the Public Health Agency and with employers such as Allstate.  This will help us update a broad range of stakeholders and customers of the benefits of Glider and our wider public transport network. We have a full programme of engagement coming up over the next few months, including with Translink staff, schools, businesses, local representatives and others. 

Belfast is definitely excited about Glider, and it will be great to see this new addition to our public transport network playing its part in making public transport ‘your first choice for travel in Northern Ireland’.

Chris Conway
Chris Conway
Group Chief Executive

View All 2018 Updates