'It's outrageous' - NI bus and train fares up again

Most bus and rail fares across Northern Ireland will increase from early June.

Public transport operator Translink confirmed the move, saying it reflects two years of "extraordinary inflation".

From 3 June, the majority of Metro bus passengers will see ticket prices increase by 10p, while Ulsterbus and Goldliner tickets could cost as much as 50p more.

Rail fares will rise by 10%, with increases ranging from 20p to £1.50 for single tickets.

This increase does not impact on cross-border coach and rail fares.

The fare increase follows a decision by the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) at the end of last year to revise fares.

Grainne Barclay in Belfast city centre reacts to the news that bus and train fares are going up across Northern Ireland
Grainne Barclay thinks the fares rising is ridiculous [BBC]

Bus passengers in Belfast city centre gave BBC News NI their reaction to the news, with one saying the fare increase was "absolutely ridiculous".

"It's outrageous, I think it's the worst travel system in Europe, I really do," said Grainne Barclay.

Hannah McLean said that if the money is going to drivers, "it makes sense" but that if it went elsewhere she's "not a fan".

Chris Howard, however, said the fare increase "makes sense", adding that he would like to see better services as "it can be a bit shaky with delays".

Hannah McLean reacts to the news bus and train fares will be going up across Northern Ireland
Hannah McLean said she would support the move if the extra money was going to drivers [BBC]

Matthew Brennan said he "sometimes can't afford a lot of bus tickets".

"I don't think it's going to put me off them, but it just might be a wee bit more inconvenient," he added.

Robin Aiken thought the service is "still really convenient and handy, but it's just something that's going to happen that we have to deal with."

Bus user Matthew Brennan reacts to the rise in fares in Northern Ireland

Last year, fares increased by approximately 7%, affecting public travel on Metro, Glider, NI Railways, Enterprise, Goldliner and Ulsterbus services.

It came after funding for public transport was reduced as a part of cuts to Stormont's overall budget.

Translink's director of service operations, Ian Campbell, said the fares rise "reflects the last two years of high levels of extraordinary inflation".

"That has, like a lot of businesses in Northern Ireland, affected Translink’s running costs – it’s pushed our supply chain costs up, our material costs for maintaining the bus and rail fleets and, of course, our railway infrastructure.

"So it’s not a decision we have taken lightly, but it's something that we have had to do to ensure that public transport remains sustainable and to enable us to maintain and improve our services to our passengers."

He encouraged customers to use discounted tickets and promotional fares.

Peter McClenaghan, director of infrastructure and sustainability at the Consumer Council, described the increase as "a blow for public transport users".

"It will disproportionately affect low-income passengers, who have no travel option other than public transport and who are already struggling with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis," Mr McClenaghan said.

SDLP infrastructure spokesperson Mark H Durkan said: "The executive's persistent failure to adequately invest in our public transport system is unforgivable.

"Not only is the public footing the bill for their failure but it's completely counterintuitive to the aim of encouraging people to use more sustainable modes of transport."

The Department for Infrastructure has been contacted for comment.