Translink is Northern Ireland’s main public transport operator. It provides an essential public service to the people of Northern Ireland, supporting economic growth, social inclusion and the welfare of the local communities it serves.
Providing high quality public transport not only enables a region to thrive, it also helps to address the challenge of congestion and air quality, creating healthier towns and cities. On an individual level it gives people choices, freedom and more opportunities in terms of business, education, shopping, travel, tourism and leisure pursuits.
What Translink did
Glider is helping Translink customers to be more sustainable in how they live their lives, by getting them out of their cars and onto an environmentally-friendly fleet of hybrid vehicles, reducing carbon, reducing emissions, paperless ticketing and offering a modern environment terms of accessibility, space, security and on-board information.
Glider contributes socially and economically by links East Belfast, West Belfast and Titanic Quarter via the city centre. The programme of works to deliver the Glider was carried out over a period of five years with the development of 30 bespoke vehicles, a new advanced ticketing system, new modern and sustainable service centre for the maintenance of the vehicles, over 100 new interactive Glider halts, a new Park & Ride site which supports active travel and interchange in both East and West Belfast and extensive road and public realm improvements across approximately 25km of roads.
Research shows strong correlations between a good public transport system and the promotion of competitiveness and sustainable development of an area. It has also been found to assist in delivering an environmentally-sustainable economy. Translink has been and is raising awareness about the importance of more sustainable lifestyles by:
- Encouraging mode shift away from non-essential car use by providing a safe, economic and reliable alternative to the private car.
- For the first time, providing a direct cross-city service linking East and West Belfast, improving connectivity between historically divided communities and improving access and mobility for deprived communities and those with disabilities, particularly to essential services.
- Contributing to active travel and quality of life improvements via the provision of complementary secure cycle shelters along the dedicated route, enhancing multi-modal opportunities.
- Reducing congestion and contributing to the Belfast Air Quality Action Plan 2015-20.
Impacts and Outcomes
- Over 60% growth in passenger numbers since the start of the Glider programme in 2013/14, already approaching 2031 target.
- Commercial benefits for local retailers with a reported increase in their customer base.
- Benefits to employee development and organisational learning as staff volunteered to be customer aids during the first ‘live’ week of Glider, gauging customer reaction first-hand.
- 40k additional passenger journeys per week
- Service punctuality improved and waiting times reduced
- 10% – 40% improvement in fuel efficiency when compared to double-decker buses in Belfast
- 90% reduction in NOx and particulate matter emissions
- Environmentally-friendly LED street lighting and LED traffic signal equipment has been installed offering energy savings of over 30% and lower maintenance costs.
- Job creation of 126 positions across Belfast
- Glider links people in most deprived communities, where car ownership is less than 35%, to key employment locations, shopping facilities, leisure and education services, facilitating the growing integration and partnerships between the different communities across the city as a “shared space” for all communities.
- Glider vehicles provide accessible and easy boarding for people with reduced mobility and parents with pushchairs as well as a mix of standing and seating areas.
For more information, please email Robin.Totten@translink.co.uk