The main provider of public transport services in Northern Ireland (NI) is Translink.
There are a number of other public bus services as well; however, the vast majority of bus services and all train services are delivered by Translink.
Metro and Glider services operate in Belfast, and Ulsterbus and Goldline services operate across NI. NI Railways deliver all of the train services across NI as well as the Enterprise service (in partnership with Irish Rail) between Belfast and Dublin.
The Passenger Charter is Translink’s commitment to its passengers. It outlines the service standards you can expect and is available on the Translink website Translink Passenger Charter.
Translink give a commitment that 99.2% of all buses and trains scheduled will run as planned, and 99.5% of trains on the Dublin line will run.
In terms of punctuality, Translink state that 95% of all buses will arrive no more than seven minutes late. 95% of trains on the Bangor line, Portadown line and Larne line will arrive no more than five minutes late. 90% of trains on the Dublin line, Londonderry line and Portrush line will arrive no more than 10 minutes late.
The Consumer Council work in partnership with Translink and the Department for Infrastructure (DFI) to monitor how well Translink perform against these measures, as well as other targets. The results are published every six months on posters in bus and train stations.
Getting the best deal
There is a wide range of tickets available for different services and journeys. Passengers can buy tickets on-board vehicles, in stations and some tickets can be bought online or through a ticket machine. There are day/weekly/monthly/multi journey and annual tickets, all of which could save you money, depending on when and how you are travelling.
Translink staff can give you information on the best ticket for your travel needs. You can also get information on the Translink website at www.translink.co.uk/JourneyPlanner or by calling the Translink contact centre on 028 9066 6630.
What to expect
There has been a lot of investment in public transport over recent years with many new trains, buses and Glider vehicles being brought into service. All trains and Glider vehicles as well as many Goldline services provide free wifi, all vehicles should be clean and comfortable and no passenger should have to stand for more than 15 minutes on any bus journey or 20 minutes on any train journey.
Travelling with a disability or reduced mobility
All Metro (Belfast Buses) and Glider services are operated using low floor, wheelchair accessible vehicles. Each now have visual displays and audio announcements so passengers know which stop is coming next. All trains are easy to board and many stations have step free access. However, some stations and some Ulsterbus and Goldline vehicles do have steps. If you need any assistance when travelling call the Translink contact centre: 028 9066 6630 at least 24hrs before you travel to ensure you can get the information and assistance that you need.
Planning your journey
Timetable information is available at stations and halts, via the Translink website or by calling the Translink contact centre: 028 9066 6630. There is also a Translink App which can be downloaded onto smartphones, which provides information on routes, timetables and can tell you which services to use for your journey.
There is also a journey planning section on the Translink website, which allows you to input where you are travelling from and to and at what time. It will then tell you which services you can use.
Delays and Cancellations
If a train or bus service is cancelled or delayed you may be entitled to compensation or a refund. This will depend on the length of the delay and whether the cause of the delay was something within Translink’s control. More detailed information is available in the Passenger Charter or by calling the Translink contact centre: 028 9066 6630.
How to Complain
All Translink employees should be professional, polite and helpful. If you have a complaint, where possible, staff should deal with any problem immediately or direct you to an appropriate member of staff.
Complaints should be acknowledged within three working days and responded to in 15 working days.
If you are not happy with the response from Translink you can escalate it to The Consumer Council.
Coronavirus - how will this affect my travel plans?
For further information on travel advice during the COVID-19 pandemic, please see our dedicated travel advice web page www.consumercouncil.org.uk/coronavirus/travel-advice