Northern Ireland

Belfast Glider buses 'boosts passenger numbers by 30%'

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Media captionPassenger numbers have increased by 30% in parts of Belfast

Passenger numbers have increased by 30% in parts of Belfast in the first year of the city's Glider service, according to Translink.

The distinctive state-of-the-art purple buses were introduced exactly a year ago in east and west Belfast.

Construction of new bus lanes to accommodate Gliders was controversial and there have been complaints about overcrowding on rush-hour services.

But Translink said passenger feedback overall had been positive.

"More than two million additional Glider passenger journeys were made in comparison to previous bus journeys taken along the route," Translink said.

"That is an increase of more than 30%, which means about 1.67 million fewer car journeys, reducing congestion and enhancing city air quality."

Hybrid technology

The introduction of the 105-person Glider buses heralded the start of Belfast's first direct cross-city service connecting east and west Belfast. They also link the Titanic Quarter to the city centre.

Translink said the Glider's popularity contributed to the highest public transport usage in Northern Ireland in more than 20 years.

Overall, there were 84.5 million passenger journeys across Northern Ireland in the 2018/19 financial year.

Glider buses are 18m long and use diesel-electric hybrid engine technology.

They are scheduled to operate every seven to eight minutes throughout the working day, along more than 100 Glider halts.

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