OPINION: Derry night bus key for thriving city centre and for safety
Today will see the introduction of the weekend Foyle Metro night bus and later Belfast coach and train services for December- additions which have been widely welcomed.
Judging by the response, the service looks set to be very well used in the coming weeks as people reunite with friends and family, gather at local restaurants and pubs for the Christmas nights out and take advantage of late night shopping.
It is a shame however that these additional Translink services are only temporarily in place for the month of December, although the NI transport body has intimated a desire to run night services on a more permanent basis if funding is allocated for it.
And this should be a priority because we all know that at weekends it can be quite difficult late on to get transport home as people emerge from pubs and clubs at around the same time. Indeed you often hear it cited as the reason why people may choose not to go out in town at all.
Having additional options for getting home would not only provide a major boost for our bars, restaurants, theatres and social clubs by encouraging more people back into the city centre, it would also help ensure more people can get home safely at night.
We all know the difficulties the hospitality sector has faced in recent years and this would provide a great boost for local businesses in 2023. For some it may prove a lifeline.
The expected high usage of the Night Movers services should speak volumes about just how vital these additional services are for our city and region.