Translink (Northern Ireland)
Translink is the brand name of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company (NITHCo), a public corporation in Northern Ireland which provides the public transport in the region. NI Railways, Ulsterbus and Metro are all part of Translink.
Translink provides services all over Northern Ireland and also to Dublin, in a partnership deal with its counterpart in the Republic of Ireland. It also provides local bus services in many towns and cities all over Northern Ireland including Bangor, Derry/Londonderry, Ballymena, Omagh, Craigavon and Antrim. The Metro service operates throughout Belfast, right out to the suburbs.
NITHCo was established in 1967 to take over the railway and bus services of the Ulster Transport Authority (UTA), namely Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) and Ulsterbus. In 1996 the Translink organization was created to integrate the services of the Ulster Transport Authority as well as Citybus Limited (Belfast only - successor to the Belfast Corporation Transport Department). Citybus is now known as Metro.
Recently, Translink has invited tenders for a rebranding exercise, which was then awarded to Lawrence and Pierce. The project was completed by mid 2009.
Northern Ireland Railways
Northern Ireland Railways (NIR), formerly and briefly called Ulster Transport Railways (UTR), is responsible for running the railway network in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland railway network is currently 330.58 km (205.41 mi).
The main passenger line operates from Portadown to Bangor. In addition to this, Translink also provides rail services between Belfast and Derry/Londonderry to the north and Newry to the south, continuing across the border, which is part of the fast Enterprise service between Belfast and Dublin. Also operated are services to Larne and Portrush, which is a branch off the Belfast-Derry railway line line, at Coleraine.
By 2015 Translink hope to have a service operating from Belfast International Airport to Belfast city centre. Translink are in talks with the airport about reopening the Lisburn-Antrim railway line, which was closed in 2003 in favour of the quicker Bleach-Green line. The Lisburn-Antrim passes Belfast International Airport and could be used to provide services to it.
Ulsterbus is responsible for most of the bus services in Northern Ireland. They operate around 20 bus stations which are Antrim, Lisburn, Bangor, Newtownards, Downpatrick, Newry, Craigavon, Dungannon, Omagh, Enniskillen, Londonderry, Coleraine, Ballymena, Magherafelt, Larne and Newcastle and others within Belfast and 1,100 Buses. Ulsterbus is charged with transporting over 65,000 children per day to school.
Translink also provide a number of hire services to the public.
The Translink Metro service (previously Citybus) operates bus services within the Greater Belfast Area. Metro operates 12 bus corridors (QBCs) in Belfast, a number of additional routes,
The service began as the Belfast Corporation Transport Department. In 1973, these services were transferred to the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company as Citybus Limited, becoming part of the "Translink" integrated network in 1995. In 2004, Translink/NITHC announced that Citybus would be completely reorganised into 12 QBCs and integrated with Ulsterbus services in the Greater Belfast area. Citybus was re-branded as Metro on 7 February 2005.
Ulsterbus Foyle is a division of Translink that operates bus services in Derry/Londonderry. The new service was opened in September 2006 following an update of the city's bus routes and replacing some of the older buses. Ulsterbus Foyle is similar to Metro that operates buses in Belfast.
Translink received criticism from Consumer Council Chief Executive, Eleanor Gill for providing inadequate service despite raising fares at a greater rate than inflation. She told BBC News that "passengers will rightly ask why average fare increases on Ulsterbus and Metro are above inflation while punctuality and reliability are below their target."
- Enterprise Train; Cross border Irish rail service.
- Ulster Transport Authority; Which ran rail and bus transport in Northern Ireland from 1948 until 1966.
- Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company; Government owned body which set up to take over the railway and bus services of the UTA.
- "Bus and train fares set to rise". BBC. 12 March 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-05.