Ulsterbus gears up for 50th birthday party

Pat Moss, Bus Operations, Frank Clegg, General Manager, Bus Services; Trevor Dixon, long service Ulsterbus driver and former Chief Driving Instructor and Raymond Bell, long service Ulsterbus driver

Pat Moss, Bus Operations, Frank Clegg, General Manager, Bus Services; Trevor Dixon, long service Ulsterbus driver and former Chief Driving Instructor and Raymond Bell, long service Ulsterbus driver

On Easter Monday Ulsterbus will reach the ripe old age of 50, a half century rich with fascinating stories as the wheels on the bus went round and round.

A new dawn beckons with the creation of a state-of-the-art transport hub at Great Victoria Street, and the journey to get there has been a remarkable one.

Ulsterbus began life on April 17, 1967 after the Ulster Transport Authority ceased to be. At this time the familiar Ulsterbus blue livery was introduced and has evolved over the last 50 years.

Since then there have been many changes in terms of service, people and technology developments and enhancements.

As a key milestone for the organisation, Translink will be marking the occasion with a special vintage bus tour and a discounted fare for customers between April 17 and 22.

Translink Group Chief Executive Chris Conway said: “We are delighted to be celebrating this important point in our history – it is opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved and the important role our services and our people play in serving the needs of the local community.

“Operating over 42,000 bus journeys every week, these vital journeys ensure people get to work, education, shops, hospitals, social activities and so much more helping to build vibrant, sustainable and success communities, towns and cities.

“Over this time, we have continued to modernise and grow.

“We have also seen fleet enhancements, new stations built and advances in technology in relation to passenger information and ticketing.

“But there is always more to do, we continue to develop and change with plans for projects like the new transport hubs in Belfast and Derry~Londonderry, further upgrades to our fleet and facilities, and new state of the art ticketing set to be introduced from 2018.”

To mark its 50th anniversary Ulsterbus will have a special 50% off day return fare for passengers and vintage buses tours around stations for those wishing to relive the bygone age of Ulsterbus.

There will also be special exhibition at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and a vintage rally on April 22.

In Monday’s News Letter we will carry interviews with some of the longest-serving employees about the symbolic role buses played during the Troubles and how bus driving was more than just a job for some.

We will also reveal the amazing story of a Co Antrim woman who owes her life to an Ulsterbus driver.