Many areas of Northern Ireland benefit from good quality public transport, especially with the railway network, the Metro bus network in Belfast and future plans for a Belfast Bus Rapid Transit system. However the rural nature of much of the country means public transport isn't the first option for many people.
Some employees may take some persuading to convince them to use public transport. Common complaints include:
- fare costs
- infrequent or unreliable services
- feeling of safety at stations
- inconvenience compared with other options
Promoting public transport
Public transport plays an important role in reducing congestion in our urban areas and benefits public health by encouraging walking and cycling as part of door-to-door journeys. Some things you could do to encourage greater use of public transport might include:
- securing a discount ticket deal that covers a range of fares from daily to annual season tickets
- offering an interest-free loan to boost take-up of season tickets
- negotiating with Translink and other transport operators about rescheduling services, extending bus routes, organising new bus services or improving station facilities
- offering a free minibus service from local train and bus stations
Making your staff aware of the many 'Park and Ride' locations around Northern Ireland can help to reduce car travel - find more information on Park and Ride including a map of locations.
Any service improvement needs to be backed up by strong marketing to ensure people have access to up-to-date information, eg timetable changes. Consider displaying information on your intranet, if appropriate, or distribute it in leaflet or poster form. It's essential you actively promote services to increase uptake.
Translink offer several options for discounted travel over long periods, such as the aLink card. You can contact Translink to obtain promotional material and discuss schemes.
Tax benefits of travel plans
You can take advantage of exemptions from tax or National Insurance contributions in certain situations. For example, if you provide work buses with more than nine seats or if you provide interest-free loans - up to £5,000 a year - to buy season tickets.