Better. Connected


As part of its continued transformation of public transport in Northern Ireland, Translink is developing customer-led, innovative ticketing solutions with a focus on ease of use, integration, convenience and value.

With around 60m ticketing transactions every year, accounting for almost 85m passenger journeys prior to the pandemic, Translink’s ticketing network acts as the key interface between passengers and services. 

The multi-million pound Translink Future Ticketing System (TFTS) capital project seeks to upgrade the existing ticketing equipment to deliver a new platform for Translink’s proposed Account Based Ticketing System (ABT).

Over the coming months, we’ll see the next significant steps on this journey, with roll-out across the entire bus and rail network, resulting in changes to how Translink’s customers travel.  The system will gradually migrate to ‘tap on, tap off’ travel on all Translink bus and rail services – from the Metro bus network in Belfast and Derry~Londonderry, to Ulsterbus services, Goldline express routes and NI Railways. 

The ABT system means customers simply tap on at the start of their journey with a debit or credit card (or a mobile wallet like ApplePay or GooglePay), or a dedicated Translink smartcard, before tapping off at the end of their journey.  At the end of each day, the total fare will be calculated, taking into consideration everywhere the customer has travelled and “capping” applied to the fare if any offers or discounts are available on the overall journey. 

For Translink, like all other public transport operators, Covid has brought its own challenges where the issue of reducing contact during ticketing transactions came to the fore. 

This is a recognition of a changed reality, exacerbated by the pandemic – while cash fares remain important, and are likely to remain so, they represent a consistently decreasing proportion of customer transactions, accounting for 39% of all fares in 2020/1, down from 65% in 2007/8.  In the same period, smart ticketing usage has jumped from 28% of all customer journeys to 57%, reflecting the wide range of options and discounts available.  However, it is recognised by Translink that the system must be simplified and made easier for public transport users to pay for their travel. 

The key message will be simply ‘Turn Up, Tap and Travel.’

TFTS has a major role to play in Translink’s ambitions to make public transport more attractive in the years ahead, attracting more passengers on board and helping to drive Northern Ireland’s much needed modal shift towards Net Zero and a sustainable transport future.  A modern, efficient ticketing system, coupled with fleet and infrastructure investments, are the key elements for a successful, enriching public transport system.

More on Translink Future Ticketing System

Translink Future Ticketing System will simplify ticketing for our customers and reward regular passengers
More on Translink Future Ticketing System