Northern Ireland

Translink: NI bus and rail fares frozen for a year

Buses in Belfast
Image caption This year's fare freeze has been welcomed as "very good news" by the Consumer Council

Public bus and rail fares will be not increase this year in Northern Ireland, Stormont's transport minister has said.

Michelle McIlveen said she took the decision to freeze fares because of the fall in fuel prices and to encourage more people to use public transport.

Last year, Translink's bus and train fares rose by more than three times the rate of inflation from February 2015.

Ten pence was added to most Metro fares in Belfast, while NI Railways journeys increased by an average of 4.5%.

At the time, Translink said the rise was a "last resort" and that fares across all of its services had been frozen since 2013.

This year's price freeze has been welcomed as "good news" by the Consumer Council and the charity Sustrans.

Ms McIlveen said public transport company Translink had experienced less than expected growth in passenger numbers during the last year.

"When this is combined with a difficult economic climate and relatively cheap fuel costs, a fare increase at this time would only deter people from using public transport," the minister said.

Translink's group chief executive, Chris Conway, said: "Freezing our fares at last year's levels is not only good news for our customers but will also help to attract even more people to choose the bus, coach and train as a better way to travel."

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