New buses on the way for province-wide services

One of the current Wrightbus vehicles in operation in Belfast
One of the current Wrightbus vehicles in operation in Belfast

Public transport services in the province and their customers have been hailed as winners with the news that 45 new buses are to join the Translink fleet as part the funding package announced by Finance Minister Mairtin O Muilleoir.

The buses will be purchased from the Ballymena-based Wrightbus and other operators after the Executive allocated £10 million for the new spending.

The funding includes £30 million left over from the voluntary exit scheme and is part of measures designed to stimulate the economy linked to the Stormont House Agreement.

“The Executive has agreed £15 million for roads structural maintenance and a further £10 million will be made available for the purchase of new buses,” said Mr O Muilleoir.

“This will provide a welcome boost to our construction and manufacturing sectors whilst delivering improvements in our transport infrastructure.”

Translink Group chief executive Chris Conway said: “We welcome this investment in new buses which allows us to procure 45 buses for Metro, Ulsterbus and Goldline.

“We are pleased that approximately £4 million of this investment will include 20 new Metro Double Decker buses procured from local supplier Wrightbus.

“These buses will modernise our fleet, improve reliability and enhance our offer to customers.

“Buses will be fitted with Euro 6 diesel engines with the lowest emissions to ensure we deliver energy efficiency and protect the environment.

“This investment supports our strategy to grow public transport which is one of the key outcomes in the draft programme for government.”