Twelve new high spec Goldline Double Deck coaches were put on display at Stormont last week before they entered passenger service on the Belfast to Londonderry route.
Representing an investment of around £4.4million, the new coaches will operate in the North West, primarily on the popular Londonderry to Belfast Route, which carries over 800,000 passengers every year.
The £4.4million investment in 12 new coaches has been largely funded by the Northern Ireland Executive through the Departments for Regional Development and Enterprise, Trade and Investment through the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme (2007 – 2013) (2007 – 2013).
Transport Minister, Michelle McIlveen said: “This year the popular 212 Belfast to Londonderry service will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary in April and I am especially pleased to announce such a significant investment in new buses for this route.
“With over 800,000 passengers travelling on this route every year, they will now be able to enjoy an even better travelling experience with extras such as seat charging points; low floor accessibility and they are also some of the most fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly buses in Northern Ireland.
“The continued investment by the Northern Ireland Executive in public transport has paid off as services such as Goldline continue to grow and provide people with a comfortable, modern and accessible travel option.”
Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell added : “I welcome the introduction of these coaches to the Goldline fleet. These high specification, low emission vehicles will provide improved public transport service for commuters, shoppers and tourists alike, all of which benefit the Northern Ireland economy.
“The allocation of EU funding from the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme, demonstrates how inter-departmental cooperation can impact positively and help deliver the core objectives of the NI Economic Strategy.”
Welcoming politicians on board the new coaches, Translink Group Chief Executive Chris Conway said there has been a 53% increase in Goldline passengers over the last decade.
He said: “Investment in Goldline is paying-off; we want to showcase the range of features and passenger benefits that are attracting more and more people to travel on board this modern coach service.
“Our fleet of Goldline coaches offer free Wi-Fi, comfortable leather seating, generous legroom, modern interior surroundings, automatic climate control, security CCTV, tinted and double-glazed windows – all of which provide a comfortable and relaxed journey experience.
“Investment in Goldline ensures that Northern Ireland coach journeys continue to offer customers a modern, attractive and sustainable transport option. Combined with good value travel tickets and frequent services, we look forward to further customer growth across our Goldline network.”