Translink "need £3bn" for zero emissions public transport

  • Translink has stated that a £3bn investment will be needed over the next 10 years to pursue more environmentally friendly public transport, having been “underfunded for decades.”

    Its CEO, Chris Conway spoke of the need for an Executive in Stormont to implement such a plan, maintaining that funding for public transport is around 50% less here than in other parts of the UK.

    Despite this “underfunding”, the transport firm reported that their annual revenues were up by 8.2% from 2018, with a turnover of almost £239m.

    Translink made £196m in 2019 with its highest number of passenger journeys in 20 years. This 3% rise in journeys saw 84.5m people in Northern Ireland avail of their services over the past 12 months.

    The Belfast Glider bus has contributed to this, racking up 10 million passenger journeys in its first year.

    The annual report also said that a focus on improving its business efficiencies and cost reduction led to a saving of £12m per year.

    However, the Department of Infrastructure’s 2019 financial report warned that continued budget cuts will severely impact Translink’s provision of public transport.

    Translink has invested £94m across various large infrastructure projects, which included the Glider and two upcoming transport hubs.

    The first construction phase of the multi-million pound Belfast Transport Hub is reported to start before the end of this year, with a contractor to be announced within the next month.

    The £27m North West Transport Hub in Derry/Londonderry is due to open on the 21st October.

    Translink has also claimed that they are investing heavily in preparations for Brexit and what the results will be for cross-border travel.

    Although not owned by the Northern Ireland government, Translink is sponsored by government and receives capital funding.  A proportion of revenue funding is specifically for concessionary fares, fuel duty rebate and rail public service obligations, which the chairman of Translink stated during an inquiry into comprehensive transport delivery structures in 2013.

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    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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