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24th March 1999

CONSUMER COUNCIL SLAMS FARE INCREASES

<p>Responding to Translink’s announcement on fare increases Joan Whiteside, Chairman of the General Consumer Council said:</p>

“The Consumer Council called for a freeze in fares until standards improved. We welcome the fact that Translink has listened and frozen some fares.” “However an average increase of 4% is bad news for travellers. This appears to be a desperate measure to meet economic targets and will further erode the numbers using public transport.” Some services will see fares rises more than double the rate of inflation. For example, the standard return fare between: · Belfast - Larne by rail is up by 5.6%, despite evidence of much passenger dissatisfaction with the service on this line · Belfast - Londonderry by rail rises by 4.8% · Belfast - Bangor is up by 4.7% on NIR and by 5.3% on Ulsterbus · Hikes of more than 4% apply for Belfast - Ballymena - Portadown and - Enniskillen · Omagh - Enniskillen is up by 8.2%, Omagh - Londonderry by 5.0% · The cost of a Citybus multi-journey ticket increases by 11%. ENDS Notes for Editors Inflation is 2.3%. For further information contact Alan Walker on 01232 672488.

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