Main content
03rd April 2012

Consumer Council says improving access to information and knowledge of cheaper ticketing options is

Improving the quality and speed with which passengers can access information from the Translink call centre and website, along with improving the uptake of cheaper ticket options should be the focus for Translink, according to the Consumer Council. The comments follow today’s publication of Translink’s latest Charter Monitoring Results for Autumn 2011 .

Speaking about the results Scott Kennerley, Head of Policy (Transport)at the Consumer Council says:  “The performance of the Translink Call Centre is a cause for concern, having failed to meet the target set for the promptness of answering calls since 2009[1].  It’s welcome to see that passenger satisfaction with value for money and staff helpfulness has increased, but ensuring passengers can access information to help plan their travel is essential.  Improvements in punctuality and reliability will be lost if people don’t have easy access to up to date information on bus and rail services.

The rating given for the Translink website by Metro, Ulsterbus and NI Railways passengers[2]demonstrates that improvements with online information are also required.”

The statistics also show that awareness and use of cashless ticketing options has fallen amongst those surveyed.  Ticket options such as SmartLink and iLink enable passengers to save around 30 per cent on the cost of each journey.

Continuing, Scott Kennerley said: “These results show that the majority of Ulsterbus passengers were unaware of these cheaper ticket options, with knowledge particularly low amongst young passengers aged 16 – 24.  Consumer Council research shows that value for money is one of the key issues for passengers[3].  Translink must focus on how this can be addressed as increasing awareness of these cheaper options will be vital to attract more people onto public transport, particularly at a time of record fuel prices.”

Concluding, Scott Kennerley said: “The focus for Translink must be to improve both the call centre and website to ensure passengers can quickly access accurate information services.  This is essential to encourage more people to make use of public transport and access information on cheaper ticket options available.

The Consumer Council will be working with Translink and the Department for Regional Development  on future monitoring of performance to seek targets that are customer focused and measure the issues which matter to passengers.  The Consumer Council is also encouraging all consumers to look at the savings that multi-journey options such as Smartlink and iLink cards can provide on the cost of travel”.

[1] The Spring 2009 monitoring results was the last time the Translink Call Centre achieved the target set of responding to telephone enquiries within 30 seconds

[2] Passengers from Metro, Ulsterbus and NI Railways rated the Translink website 80 points out of 100.

[3]Public Transport – On the right track?, Consumer Council.