Translink to offer late night transport services in Northern Ireland
There is optimism among many in Northern Ireland that the late-night service will offer a crucial boost to hospitality businesses throughout the region.
Belfast will be served by a late night bus service this Christmas
Northern Ireland transport operator Translink has confirmed that late night train and bus services will return this winter in time for the Christmas period.
A similar scheme was trialled in 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic had put a halt to any progress since then. But now, as measures designed to curb the virus begin to be eased, Translink says it is actively recruiting drivers to offer late night services later in the year.
It’s hoped the new night-time services will offer a welcome boost to hospitality businesses throughout the region, who will no doubt be looking to the Christmas period as a key opportunity to recoup lost earnings as a result of enforced closure.
“With a further easing of restrictions and an increase in demand expected, we aim to relaunch additional late-night departures once again to support the hospitality industry on the approach to Christmas,” a Translink spokesperson told the BBC.
Geoff Thomson, President of the Bangor Chamber of Commerce (Bangor is a popular seaside town just outside Belfast), was equally as optimistic about the boost a late-night transport service might offer.
“Getting people around the town safely at night is obviously important,” he told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster Programme.
“We have several taxi companies in the town but also a night bus might work.
“Any way of getting people around the town a little bit safer is worth trying.”
“I’m delighted that Translink intends to bring back a trial of late-night services in the Autumn as part of their COVID-19 recovery plan. I have been advocating for an increased late service for many years, to support our night time economy and open up the city centre to more people. This has become crucial as we seek to support venues, restaurants and bars while we re-open our city,” SDLP Lisnasharragh councillor Séamas de Faoit told Belfast Live.
“Making Belfast an open, welcoming and accessible place will bring benefits to citizens, local neighbourhoods and businesses. I will continue working with my SDLP colleague Minister Nichola Mallon to seize the chance for change, by delivering new opportunities for public transit and active travel, with the ongoing Glider Phase 2 consultation, the development of the new transport hub and increased investment in dedicated infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.”