As restrictions ease, many businesses are planning for a return to the workplace in the period ahead. To help meet that ambition, Translink is working alongside local businesses and their staff to deliver safe, greener and convenient journeys to and from the workplace in the coming months as part of a wider modal shift towards a ‘green’ recovery.
By promoting moves towards increased usage of bus and rail travel, local businesses can join Translink in supporting a sustainable future, one in which public transport has a fundamental role to play.
Translink stands ready to support businesses and keep staff and customers safe as they return, and we are engaging with local employers, business representative organisations and other stakeholders to listen to their needs and concerns.
Safety is Translink’s top priority and commuters can be assured that robust measures are in place to ensure that services are safe, including encouraging contactless/cashless payments wherever possible; social distancing and the wearing of face coverings on-board services, unless exempt; delivering high cleaning and sanitisation standards, with regular enhanced deep cleaning of vehicles and facilities using a protective long-lasting anti-viral disinfectant; and monitoring and enhancing capacity as and when required to meet passenger needs.
Translink has introduced an online digital travel toolkit, which will enable people to plan their journeys in advance with confidence. This provides important journey safety advice, as well as information on best value ticket options and the rigorous safety measures we have adopted on-board to reassure customers, particularly those who may be returning to public transport for the first time since the pandemic began.
Support for safe, sustainable public transport
There are significant opportunities to develop and enhance sustainable public transport options in the years ahead, and a reduction in society’s dependence on the private car is essential in order to reduce congestion in our urban centres and improve air quality.
Recent research commissioned by Translink, which surveyed public transport users and non-users across Northern Ireland, reveals that 79 per cent of respondents anticipate they will return to their normal workplace by the end of 2021, with 50 per cent of those surveyed also saying they would be happy to use public transport immediately once restrictions lift. The same research has identified several factors that will be key to encouraging greater take-up of bus and rail services, including the use of face coverings, enhanced cleaning and sanitisers at stations – these are measures in which Translink has led the way throughout the pandemic.
‘‘We welcome the new digital travel toolkit from Translink which is an excellent resource for everyone to utilise.”
— John Healy, Vice President and Managing Director of Allstate
The research also revealed that Translink is recognised for keeping our economy moving and keeping communities connected. Significantly, over two thirds agreed that public transport is a better option for the environment and for our air quality.
Climate action: A net zero vision
Public transport touches all aspects of life, and it is clear that the shift to net zero emissions will be a defining policy issue in the years ahead. During lockdown, we saw air pollution levels and emissions drop significantly, all while public transport services continued to operate. It is very encouraging that over half of those surveyed claimed they would consider using public transport as a sustainable, more environmentally friendly mode of transport in the future, helping to drive emissions down further, reduce pollution and congestion and improve air quality across Northern Ireland as we work towards our ‘Climate Positive’ vision.
With the right funding, Translink aims to operate a net zero emission bus and rail fleet across our network by 2040, with fleets in Belfast and Derry~Londonderry achieving this by 2030. Our initial hydrogen-powered and battery-electric double-deck vehicles – the first anywhere in Ireland – have entered service, with another 100 zero emission vehicles set to join the Metro fleet in the coming months. By the end of this year, Translink will operate the UK’s fourth-largest zero emission bus fleet and we continue to work towards the achievement of further important milestones on our journey to net zero and securing a brighter future for everyone in our community.
Translink at the heart of the recovery
Public transport sits at the heart of Northern Ireland’s recovery, and Translink has a clear vision to cement bus and rail travel as a key component of our recovery, with additional capacity, new fleet investment and a move to new technologies, including zero emission and our new Translink Future Ticketing System, including on-board contactless payment capability, which will improve choice for everyone. Initial roll-out is planned for later in 2021. We hope to inspire others to join us on our net zero journey and make public transport their first choice for travel in Northern Ireland for today and tomorrow.
Find out more at www.translink.co.uk