‘One-in-20’ Glider riders are dodging their bus fares
Translink has estimated that the equivalent of one-in-20 passengers’ fares are being dodged on its new Glider fleet.
The Glider buses – with their distinctive bendy middle and low-lying tram-like design – were introduced in Belfast in autumn 2018.
They are meant to provide fast public transport links between the city centre and east and west Belfast, which are poorly-served by trains.
Now an Assembly question from East Belfast MLA Robin Newton has uncovered a number of facts about its first year of operation.
Firstly, the Glider exceeded its passenger carrying target by two million; carrying 9.6m passengers as compared to the projected 7.6m.
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This meant that running costs were 12% higher than expected – but also that fare revenues were 18.5% higher too.
In addition, the response to Mr Newton said: “The level of detected fare evasion on Glider services in 2019/20 was approximately 5%.”
When contacted by the News Letter, Translink said: “The rate of fare compliance was in excess of 95%, which is within acceptable parameters for an open boarding transport system.
“We do not have a precise figure for potential revenue foregone.”
However, Mr Newton said that “actual fare evasion is – in all probability – much higher” than 5%.
In addition, during 2019/20, vandalism of the buses cost £25,000, and vandalism of the ticket machines at Glider stops cost £28,000 – figures which Mr Newton described as being “shameful”.
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