An extra 170,000 customers used Ulsterbus’s luxury Goldline coach service over the last year as more people left the car at home, it has been revealed.
Commuters and leisure users abandoned their vehicles for public transport for everyday journeys, transport provider Translink said.
The flagship bus line carries more than three million passenger journeys each year - a 6% increase on the previous year.
The Consumer Council and MLAs have denounced recent 3% bus fare rises but Translink marketing executive Ciaran Rogan said: “It’s clear that more people are choosing to leave the car at home and use our bus and coach services for their everyday journeys, whether it’s business or leisure.”
New Goldline coaches were introduced last September with free WiFi, leather seats and additional legroom.
The service has shown a 45% increase in passenger journeys during the last eight years, the company added.
In September, Translink announced a £29 million investment in 87 new Goldline coaches and 58 new Metro buses.
Over the last year, almost 504,000 Metro bus journeys were made every week in Belfast, an addition of 22,000 journeys made every month.
Direct services from Belfast to Dublin Airport have proved popular and there is a new route between Derry and Dublin serving Mid Ulster and Armagh.
Mr Rogan added: “On Metro, Smartlink and our ‘Love Metro Saturdays’ £2 day ticket deals are great value and improved bus passenger priority measures in the city centre mean faster journeys and additional double decker buses contribute to a reduction in traffic congestion.”
Last month, Translink increased fares across its bus, coach and rail services.
Ticket prices rose by an average 3% on Metro and local Ulsterbus routes and by 5% on NI Railways.