Translink has robustly rejected Co. Antrim private transport company Hannon Coach’s claims that its passenger journeys have declined by 17 per cent in the past two years.
The public transport firm’s media relations officer, Kerry Graye, said the claim, made by Hannon’s group marketing manager, Owen McLaughlin, following a presentation to Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee two weeks ago, was not true.
“It is incorrect to say that Ulsterbus passenger journeys were down 17 per cent over the past two years,” stated Ms. Graye.
“In fact, last year, there was an increase of almost 70 thousand passenger journeys as more people were attracted to Ulsterbus’ quality services and good value fares.
“We have introduced new coaches and timetables on the 212 Derry-Londonderry to Belfast Express services and we operate more than 50 return services between Derry-Londonderry and Belfast every day on our buses and trains.
“In addition, enhanced Ulsterbus Foyle Metro services were launched in autumn 2017,” she added.
Hannon made the claim after pitching its proposed new ‘express’ bus service between Derry and Belfast to members of the B&C committee earlier this month.
The bid remains subject to a live Department of Infrastructure (DfI) licence application.
Ms. Graye acknowledged this, stating: “We are aware of the application by Hannon Coach and we await the decision of the DfI.”
However, the Translink media officer said that in the meantime the firm would continue to operate quality services throughout Derry and Strabane while forging ahead with its plans to develop a new North West Multi-Modal Transport hub at the old Waterside Railway Station.
“Translink is also firmly committed to the development of the North-West Multi-Modal Transport Hub,” she stated.