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22nd September 2008


The Consumer Council today welcomed news coming from Translink’s Spring Passenger Charter that buses and trains are meeting their punctuality and reliability targets, but says that Translink must work hard to improve value for money on Metro and Northern Ireland Railways (NIR).

Aodhan O’Donnell, Head of Transport at the Consumer Council said: "Punctuality and reliability are the backbone of effective public transport, and the Consumer Council commends all at Translink for achieving these results.  It is important that this improvement is sustained so that more people think about hopping on a bus or train as a real alternative to taking the car. 

“The Consumer Council is very concerned by passengers’ increasing view that Translink services do not offer value for money, particularly since this survey took place before the August fare increases.  Consumers are getting it tough these days and are struggling to make ends meet, so it’s important that fares are affordable if passengers are to see public transport as value for money.   The challenge for Translink is to firmly focus on keeping all costs down and increasing passenger numbers as these results clearly show that passengers are looking for better value for money from public transport.

“The entire passenger experience must offer excellent customer service and care from the minute passengers arrive at the station or stop until they reach their destination, and everything in between.  Public investment in passenger facilities as well as buses and trains is paying off for passengers, and it must be matched by quality services and excellent customer care.  That’s what consumers expect from a modern, convenient and value for money public transport system; that’s what should be consistently delivered.  The headlines from the Passenger Charter show positive signs of improvement which can be built on now and into the future.”

The Consumer Council is committed to working positively and constructively with Translink, the Department for Regional Development and passengers to encourage more and more people to choose and keep using public transport.   


Results of Translink’s Independent Charter Monitoring Survey for Spring 2008

  • All Metro, NIR and Ulsterbus services exceeded their standards for reliability.  The target is 99.2. Metro achieved 99.8, Ulsterbus and NIR both achieved 99.9.
  • All Metro, NIR and Ulsterbus services exceeded their standards for punctuality.  The target is 95. Metro achieved 97, Ulsterbus achieved 97 and NIR achieved 98.


  • Passenger ratings for Value for Money on Metro continued to fall - from 71 in Spring 07 - to 64 in Autumn 07 and again to 63 in the Spring 08 results.
  • Passenger ratings for Value for Money on NIR also continued to fall - from 61 in Spring 07 - to 60 in Autumn 07 and a sharp fall to 54 in the Spring 08 results.
  • Ulsterbus received its highest ever overall satisfaction rating from passengers since monitoring began in 1994 (the “Customer Performance Index”) due to better punctuality, staff helpfulness, cleanliness and comfort.
 Charter StandardMetroUlsterbusNIR
Punctuality of arrival
- NIR Dublin / Londonderry90--99
- Other buses / trains95979798
Telephone enquiries  (respond within 30 seconds)95

Call Centre 94

Satisfaction Rating 85

  1. Consumer Council media contact: Susie Brown, telephone, 028 9067 4807 or e-mail,  
  2. The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about buses, trains, planes, ferries, natural gas, electricity, coal and water.
  3. For more information, visit our website at