Business Briefing Update

Northern Ireland is continuing to work through the steps to reopen society as we rebuild from COVID-19, notwithstanding some ongoing restrictions. 

This guide is to help the community, including schools and businesses, plan their journeys on public transport for when they are ready to return. Translink has been at the frontline throughout this crisis helping get people to where they need to be, and we continue to play our part in helping Northern Ireland rebuild safely and sustainably and help people back to the workplace in a safe, secure and eco-friendly manner.

Safety is always our top priority and we have introduced a range of measures across our network to keep everyone safe. Things look a bit different at stations and on-board and passengers may need to leave some extra time for their journey. Be assured that these changes are for everyone’s protection, guided by the latest advice from the NI Executive and health experts because we want everyone to feel safe and confident when they need to use our services.

Here’s what we’re doing: 

  • Face coverings: Face coverings are now compulsory on-board all Translink bus and rail services and in stations. Compliance is above 85%, which we greatly welcome and we encourage passengers to continue to ‘wear one for everyone’. Some exemptions apply – see 
  • Polycarbonate screens: We have new screens fitted to 100% of the active bus fleet and in stations to shield passengers and staff. 
  • Hygiene: Our front-line staff all have gloves and hand sanitisers. They have also been provided with additional PPE equipment as required. 
  • Hand sanitisers: We have installed hundreds of public sanitisation points at most of our stations across the network. 
  • Cleaning: Our buses and trains undergo daily, weekly and monthly cleaning regimes using industrial grade, long-lasting anti-viral sanitiser.  We’re also using ground-breaking Electrostatic cleaning techniques; all vehicles are electro-statically sprayed every week with a long-lasting anti-viral agent, forming a protective barrier to prevent viruses from forming. (insert cleaning video)
  • Social distance measures: As well as new signage in stations and on-board, we have a range of new systems in place to help passengers keep a safe social distance such as restricting entry, one-way access and queuing systems. 


Help us to help you – what we ask of you: 

We are doing everything we can to ensure a safe and sustainable public transport network but we need everyone to help us by following the latest NI Executive and Translink advice in the following ways: 

  • Everyone should be aware that it is now compulsory to wear a face covering on-board Translink bus and rail services and in stations, although some exemptions apply. 
  • If business employees can continue to work from home, this should still be done as far as possible. 
  • Wherever possible, please consider other sustainable forms of transport, such as walking or cycling, if these represent practical alternatives for relatively short journeys. This will help us keep the numbers travelling via public transport manageable and will assist with the ‘green recovery’. 
  • Despite the impact of COVID-19, the climate emergency is still with us. Translink is encouraging businesses and others to help Northern Ireland move towards a ‘greener’, low-carbon normality. By taking some simple steps to promote sustainable transport options, we can together help Northern Ireland progress towards a low-carbon future protecting our environment and enhancing air quality. 
  • Businesses and schools can also help us keep bus and rail travel safe by staggering start and finish times for employees and pupils and facilitating longer days wherever possible so that we can keep passenger numbers manageable and safe during peak times (ie, between 7:30am-9am and 4pm-6pm). 
  • If travel by public transport is unavoidable, please plan journeys in advance. You can do this easily by downloading the Translink NI app or using our website, 
  • Please reinforce our travel advice amongst employees (as applicable to your sector/ nature of your work). This can be found online at:
  • Please respect other people’s space and keep distance from other passengers and staff where possible.  Family/household groups can sit together.  Please use window seats and leave an empty row of seats in front and behind where possible.  If you’re using the bus or Glider, avoid using the seats behind the driver.    


Ways to Pay

We’ve limited contact between our staff and passengers as much as possible to keep everyone safe. One of the ways we are trying to do this is by encouraging passengers to use prepaid tickets such as mLink or multi-journey tickets and contactless credit or debit cards if purchasing at stations, on board the train from the conductor or Glider TVMs. 

Please advise that we have a ‘no change’ policy on board; passengers must tender the correct fare if paying by cash to the bus driver or train conductor onboard all services - there will be no change given to passengers on-board to reduce personal contact. Passengers buying tickets at bus and train stations will still be able to receive change, but are strongly urged where possible to contactless or prepaid ticket options or tender the exact fare to reduce the amount of cash handling. Any surplus funds acquired as a result of this policy will be divided between NHS Charities Together and Cancer Focus NI, Translink’s charity partner. 

  • Enterprise/Goldline Cross Border 
    • Enterprise and Goldline cross-border tickets can still be purchased online. Any passenger needing to purchase a Goldline ticket on the day can buy at the station using card (contactless) or cash. We urge any passengers paying with cash to have the exact change to limit the contact between drivers/station staff and passengers. 
  • NIR Weekly/Monthly/3 Day Select 
    • NI Railways tickets can be purchased at stations using contactless or cash – contactless payment is preferable. 
    • Tickets can also be purchased from conductors on-board the train using contactless or cash – if using cash, please remember the ‘no change’ policy. NI Railways tickets can also be purchased via our mLink app (available for IOS and Android) Weekly and Monthly Tickets can be purchased online when you plan a journey. 
  • Smartlink Cards 
    • Smartlink Cards can be purchased online, in bus stations and selected Smartlink Agents - they can also be topped up in bus stations and selected Smartlink Agents. Smartlink Cards can be purchased at the station using contactless or cash. Change can be given, although contactless is preferable. Weekly/Monthly tickets for Metro and Glider can also be purchased online or via our mLink app (available for IOS and Android). Smartlink cards needed for Ulsterbus journeys must be purchased at a station or any of the selected Smartlink Agents 
  • iLink Cards 
    • iLink Cards can be purchased in any bus or train station and online when you plan a journey. 
  • mLink App 
    • The mLink app allows passengers to purchase tickets for NI Railways, Metro, Foyle Metro, yLink, 24+, Airport Express 300, Ulsterbus Craigavon and Goldline Services within Northern Ireland. Please note; on peak tickets can be purchased before 09:30 and off-peak tickets can be purchased after 09:30. Please also be aware that single tickets cannot be purchased on the app. Find out more

Let’s go safely together

The health and safety of our passengers, employees and the wider public is paramount, and we will continue to follow all public health instructions as issued by PHA. Information is also available from NI Direct. 

For the latest updates please follow us on Twitter or Facebook. We will also continue to work with the Department for Infrastructure and the wider NI Executive in order to help Northern Ireland emerge at the other side of this ongoing situation and promote sustainable transport opportunities across the board.

Better times lie ahead, and public transport will be vital for the economic recovery of Northern Ireland, helping to connect communities and people with employment, education, healthcare, retail and leisure opportunities and restore vibrancy to our town and city centres and other districts.

A wide range of exciting key projects, including the Belfast Transport Hub, the North-West Transport Hub in Derry~Londonderry, a hydrogen bus trial and Glider phase 2, will provide significant focus on the value of public transport and the vital contribution it makes in our society. We will also be ready to continue playing a key role in moving towards a zero-carbon future – the climate emergency is still with us and we’re progressing work on low and zero emission technologies, ensuring public transport becomes even more sustainable in the years ahead. We want to encourage everyone to play their full part in the ‘green recovery’ as well, and look forward to working with you as we progress sustainable transport options together. 

Please keep well and thanks for your ongoing support.

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