Translink to explore funding for full-time late night services after festive period passenger numbers exceed 10,000

Passenger numbers on temporary late night bus and rail services in Belfast and Derry have been described as 'very encouraging' by Translink's CEO Chris Conway.
Paul Ainsworth

TRANSLINK has said it will work to secure funding for a full-time late night bus and rail network after it was revealed over 10,000 people used temporary late city services over Christmas.

The extra services for buses and trains in Belfast and Derry operated during December for people travelling for nightlife events in the cities, and there have been calls to make the services permanent to boost the night-time economy and improve safety.

Translink chief executive Chris Conway said the numbers using the late services were "very encouraging", adding that people having a "reliable and safe bus or train home gave them the confidence and comfort to travel and enjoy a night out".

He said: "We will continue to work with all stakeholders with an interest in developing and improving the night-time economy to secure funding for a financially sustainable late-night network providing safe, attractive and low-cost travel options for those who work at night and those who want to enjoy the great hospitality on offer."

Belfast City Council members agreed a motion last month calling for the late Metro and Glider bus services to remain in place year-round.

East Belfast Alliance MLA Peter McReynolds said the passenger numbers over Christmas "indicate that there is definitely a demand" for permanent late services.

"Belfast is a modern city and with that comes the need for a reliable, efficient and low cost night-time transportation system," he said.