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Transport fare rises coming into affect on Monday an ‘unacceptable burden’ for workers

The increases in transport fares due to come in next week have been slammed as an “unacceptable burden” on workers during a cost-of-living crisis.

In February, it was announced that Translink’s standard fares would be set to increase on average by approximately 7% from Monday, March 6.

The changes will affect travel on Metro, Glider, NI Railways, Enterprise, Goldliner and Ulsterbus services.

In his written ministerial statement of November 24, 2022, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said that steps would need to be taken to improve Translink’s sustainability through the uprating of public transport fares.

At the time, a spokesperson for the Department for Infrastructure said: “The Department fully recognises the challenges facing many people in the current cost of living crisis.

“However, significant budget pressures mean the below inflation uplift is needed to maintain and improve public transport services.”

Among the changes set to come in to force is the axing of the early bird scheme, which offered discounted fares for early morning commuters from certain towns and cities, including Armagh and Newry.

Under the scheme, a return ticket for travelling to Belfast by bus from Armagh and Newry would set back commuters £10.

Travellers from Dungannon enjoyed 1/3 off a standard Goldline Day Return ticket.

Sinn Féin MLA for Newry and Armagh and infrastructure spokesperson Cathal Boylan has slammed the introduction of increased fares.

He said: “With the early bird scheme set to be axed on Monday, workers in 15 towns and cities are set to face a 30-75% increase in the daily cost of bus travel to Belfast.

“This is a completely unacceptable burden for workers during the cost of living crisis and flies in the face of the decision to freeze fares by then Infrastructure Minister, John O’Dowd.

“This Tory decision to increase fares will impact everyday workers who depend on public transport and are already struggling.

“If we’re serious about tackling the climate emergency we need to invest in our public transport to improve connectivity, keep fares affordable, and support people to use public transport.”

List of Translink prices changes from March 6:

  • Cash Singles will increase by between 20p and £1.00
  • Multi-Journey Smartlink will increase by between 20p and 80p
  • Early Bird fares will no longer be available
  • yLink 50% off travel (conditions apply)
  • Ulsterbus Town Services – Smartlink Day travel £2.30
  • Town Service Paper Day Ticket £3.00
  • Town Service Weekly / Monthly Smartlink
    • Weekly smartlink £10.50
    • Monthly smartlink £42.00
  • Day returns 1/3 off after 9.30am (promotional fare) now 25% off
  • Sunday Bus Rambler ticket £10.00
  • Family & Friends ticket £23.00
  • Smartlink cards £1 (unchanged). Purchase online £1
  • Smartlink 10, 20, 30 & 40 journeys available

A full overview of the fare revisions can be found here.

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