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24th March 2011

Independent monitoring shows Translink are failing to deliver the service passengers expect

Responding to the results of Translink’s Charter Monitoring survey for Autumn 2010 (released today 24 March 2011), Ryan Simpson, Senior Consumer Affairs Officer at the Consumer Council says: “These latest results show poor performance and falling levels of passenger satisfaction across all Translink bus and rail services. In addition, passenger numbers continue to drop on Ulsterbus and Metro services , whilst only marginally increased on NI Railways year on year.”

The Consumer Council welcomes recent Government investment in public transport such as the provision of more park and ride facilities and plans for further bus priority measures in Belfast.  However, these must be matched with improved customer service, well maintained bus and rail stations and value for money fares to encourage passengers across Northern Ireland onto services and make the most of these investments.

Ryan Simpson said “Punctuality is a key issue for consumers yet the targets for buses arriving on time weren’t met.  Access to information on services is also an important factor in enabling people to use public transport and results show that the Translink Call Centre has failed to meet its targets for the last two years.  It’s vital that consumers can access information easily by phone, in person or online to enable them to plan their journey.  Given that many people now use the internet to access travel information, the Consumer Council would like to see Translink’s website included in any future monitoring to determine if it is providing information that meets passengers’ needs.”

Consumer Council research[1] shows that many people want to make the change to more sustainable modes of travel, but in many cases there are barriers that prevent or discourage them such as availability, cost or poor customer service.

Continuing, Ryan Simpson said:  “With the cost of petrol and diesel at an all time high, plus potential increases in the cost of insurance and parking impacting further on motorists, Translink has a real opportunity to entice people away from their cars and onto public transport.  However, tHoweverhese results show value for money ratings falling across all three companies[2]. Clearly there is work for Translink to do to demonstrate to both current and potential users that services provide value for money, reliability and high levels of customer service.” 


Notes to Editors


Results of Translink’s Independent Charter Monitoring Survey for Autumn 2010


-         Metro and NI Railways exceeded the standard for reliability whilst Ulsterbus fell slightly short. The target is 99.2. Metro achieved 99.3, NI Railways achieved 99.7 and Ulsterbus achieved 99.1.

-         NI Railways exceeded the standard for punctuality while both Metro and Ulsterbus fell short.



Reliability (Dublin Line)99.5  98.6
Punctuality of arrival
 NIR Dublin / Portrush /
90  94
Other buses /
Telephone enquiries (respond within 30 seconds)9584
Call-centre overall satisfaction Satisfaction rating 86

[1]“Transport Matters – Young People’s Experiences, Attitudes and Ideas for Improving Public Transport”, January 2011.

[2] Customer ratings for value for money fell from 70 in Spring 2010 to 63 in Autumn 2010 on Metro, from 69 to 59 on Ulsterbus and from 67 to 60 on NI Railways over the same period.