Translink confirms fare increases for NI bus and train from next month

Fares for both bus and train services in Northern Ireland will increase from next month.

The price increases will affect most fares on Metro, NI Railways and Ulsterbus services, the operator said.

Translink said the increases will come into effect from Monday, June 3.

The majority of passengers will see their fares increase by 6% for bus and 10% for rail.

In real terms this means that most Metro/Glider cash singles will rise by 10p, most Ulsterbus and Goldliner cash singles will rise between 10p and 50p depending on distance, and most rail cash singles between 20p and £1.50 will increase depending on distance.

This decision does not affect cross-border bus and train fares.

The Consumer Council has criticized Translink’s decision to increase rates.

“Today’s announcement that Translink will increase its average fares by 6% for bus and 10% for rail is a blow to public transport users,” said the organisation’s Peter McClenaghan.

“This review follows an average fare increase of 7% for all Translink services in March 2023 and an increase in rail fares in November 2023.

“It will disproportionately impact low-income passengers, who have no travel option other than public transport and who are already struggling with the ongoing cost of living crisis.”

Mr McClenaghan said he understands the impact of the cost of living and lack of government funding on public transport in Northern Ireland, but claimed the company could do more to support consumers.

“Government funding for public transport in Northern Ireland must be sufficient to at least maintain current levels of service, but also fund incentives to increase passenger numbers where possible,” he added.

“This fare increase contrasts with initiatives elsewhere, such as the £2 fare cap in England and the 20 per cent passenger discount in the Republic of Ireland (ROI), which recognize the benefits of public transport for society and the environment.

“This Translink increase could limit the growth in the number of people using public transport and would be contrary to government policy to increase the number of people using public transport.”

The Consumer Council also suggested that moves to increase a flat fare on buses across Belfast, to promote simplicity for passengers, could inadvertently result in “some above-average price increases for certain types of tickets”.

“We are therefore urging Translink to introduce solutions as soon as possible that would offset these price increases, such as a weekly limit on contactless payments, to address this,” he added.

To help combat price increases, Translink has encouraged customers to take advantage of their range of daily value tickets, discounted tickets and available promotional fares.

Passengers are also encouraged to use contactless, mLink and multi-travel products to get the best deal.

The company said the 25% discount will also continue to be available on non-peak travel after 9.30am on train and local Ulsterbus services.

The iLink cards also offer unlimited travel for different zones on the bus and train network.

Ian Campbell, Translink Director of Operations, said there were still many discounts available to passengers.

“We are maintaining the 50% discount, along with free access to the yLink card for all 16 to 23 year olds,” he said.

“With more than 60% more yLink journeys last year, this special deal will help many more young people travel by bus and train, and make their money go further.

“We have also taken the opportunity to simplify Smartlink fares for Metro/Glider, making it easier for our customers. Passengers using Smartlink simply pay a £2 fare for each standard adult journey, which for most people means a saving of over 10% compared to paying with cash. The dayLink, mLink and contactless day tickets will also go to £4.00 for all-day travel.”

Mr Campbell said Translink will remain committed to making public transport an affordable option for commuters.

“We remain convinced that bus and train travel remains the most attractive and cost-effective travel choice, especially when compared to rising private car costs,” he added.

“Combined with the many wider health and wellbeing benefits of sustainable travel, it is also an easy way in which we can all do our part to tackle the climate crisis and improve air quality for a better connected society for all.”

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