Belfast’s integrated multimodal system nears completion

Posted: 5 September 2018 | | No comments yet

A new ticketing system will transform the passenger experience on both bus and rail, whilst offering off-board ticketing.


Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive (left), with Owen Griffith, Managing Director of Flowbird Transport Intelligence

Translink’s Future Ticketing System has been unveiled at the launch of the new Glider bus rapid transit network in Belfast.

Glider customers will be the first to benefit from Translink’s system which will be deployed across all Translink bus and rail services in Northern Ireland over the next few years. This will create the UK’s largest integrated multimodal system outside of London.

Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, said: “Glider is the new face of travel in Belfast and is part of our ambitious plan to transform local public transport. In a first for Northern Ireland, we are pleased to be implementing the first key milestone of our new Future Ticketing System introducing off-board ticketing for Glider. The new systems will facilitate faster journeys and offer the same excellent value tickets as Metro with a focus on integration, flexibility and ease of use. 

The new system, developed by Flowbird Transport Intelligence, will provide passengers with a range of flexible options to pay for their travel, including cash, smartcard and contactless payment cards, mobile payments and online accounts.

Translink and Flowbird were one of the very first public transport operators and suppliers in the UK to implement smartcard ticketing in 2002 and all existing Translink smartcards are fully compatible with the new ticketing system. 

Flowbird has developed a new back office architecture to manage the Translink ticketing infrastructure. CloudFare will act as the hub for Translink’s Future Ticketing System, enabling administrators to monitor and control ticketing devices directly, view route performance statistics in real time, set automatic system alerts, manage passenger accounts and run comprehensive management reports.

Owen Griffith, Managing Director of Flowbird Transport Intelligence, said: “This milestone is the result of an excellent partnership between Translink and Flowbird. I am very much looking forward to continuing to work with the Translink team as the system is deployed across the other modes of public transport throughout Northern Ireland. The new ticketing system will help to improve the passenger journey experience and provide Translink with better information to serve their customers.”

In support of the Glider launch, Flowbird installed 114 self-service retail units at halts along the network, supplied 230 platform validators and provided 45 handheld inspection devices. Passengers can now buy tickets, top-up their smartcards, collect tickets purchased online and validate journeys before boarding.

2019 will see Translink’s Future Ticketing System introduced on all Translink’s Metro and Ulsterbus services, followed by NI Railways in 2020. Further customer enhancements, including a customer smartcard portal and online top-ups, will be available in 2021.