COVID-19 Guidance for safer travel
The Government has now published advice for safer travel during COVID-19 as restrictions are eased. This is available on the NI Direct website.
Face Coverings when using public transport
From the 10th July 2020 passengers using public transport services will be required to wear a face covering.
There are exemptions to these rules for disabled people who find wearing a face covering very difficult or impossible.
You can find out more about the new regulations and exemptions from the NI Direct website.
Changes to services
Translink has made a number of changes to the way services are provided in response to COVID-19 including:
- Reduced frequency timetables
- Physical / social distancing measures on vehicles and stations
- Installation of screens to protect passengers and drivers
- A “No Change” policy operating on all services
If you usually need assistance to use public transport you should continue to receive this during COVID-19 although the way it is provided may change.
If you have any concerns you should contact Translink before you travel.
Translink has developed a guide to using their services during COVID-19. To find out more visit the Translink website.
About bus services in Northern Ireland
Most bus services in Northern Ireland are operated by Translink. What bus services are called can vary depending on where you are travelling to and from.
- Metro is the name for buses in Belfast
- Glider is the name of a rapid bus service between east and west Belfast
- Foyle Metro is the name for buses in Derry/Londonderry
- Ulsterbus is the name for bus services outside Belfast
- Goldline is the name for express coach services across Northern Ireland
Routes and timetables
Find out more about the Glider service.
Feedback and complaints
The Consumer Council
Other bus services
There are a small number of bus services in Northern Ireland provided by operators other than Translink. These include:
- Cross border services operated by Bus Éireann
- Services between Belfast and Dublin operated by Aircoach and Dublin Coach
- Services between Derry and Belfast airports operated by Airporter Ltd
- A commuter coach service between Newry and Belfast operated by Rooney Coaches
Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
Under the DDA disabled people have rights when using bus services. Rights under the DDA mean:
- Transport providers should not treat you less favourably than other passengers because of your disability.
- Transport providers must also make changes called reasonable adjustments to help you use their services more easily.
- Transport providers must make their stations accessible to you.
- Transport providers must buy buses that meet accessibility standards.
- Transport providers must make information about their services accessible to you.
The Equality Commission
Using your rights under the DDA can be a challenge. The Equality Commission is the body responsible for promoting and enforcing the DDA in Northern Ireland and can give you advice about your rights when travelling by bus.
Find out more from the Equality Commission website.
Improvements have been made at all bus stations to provide accessible facilities including:
- Step-free access.
- Accessible toilets.
- Accessible ticket desks.
There are Departure screens at all stations but only limited audio announcements at bus station.
Many stations close at 5pm on weekdays and all day at weekends so these facilities will not always be available.
Changing Places facilities
There are no bus stations with Changing Places facilities.
Translink Station & Facilities Guide
Translink has produced a guide to their stations and facilities. The guide is currently under review.
Buses in Belfast
In Belfast bus services are called Metro and Glider. All buses have:
- Low-floor entrances and with ramped access.
- Dedicated spaces for one wheelchair user.
- Four other priority seats for disabled people.
- Audio-visual next stop announcements.
Buses in Derry/Londonderry & local town services
In Derry/Londonderry bus services are called Foyle Metro. In other towns services are called Ulsterbus Town Services. All Foyle Metro and Ulsterbus Town Service buses have:
- Low-floor entrances with ramped access.
- Dedicated space for one wheelchair user
- Four priority seats for disabled people.
- These buses don’t have audio-visual next stop announcements.
Ulsterbus/Goldline buses and coaches
Services between our towns and cities are called Ulsterbus or Goldline. These services use a mix of vehicles including low-floor buses and coaches with stepped access. Coaches have:
- Four or five steps at the entrance.
- Seats in the wheelchair user space which must be removed.
- A passenger lift for wheelchair users and others.
- Limited or no priority seats for disabled people.
- These buses and coaches don’t have audio-visual next stop announcements.
If you have difficulty with steps or are a wheelchair user Translink requires you to give 24 hours notice before you travel on these services.
Translink Scooter/Wheelchair Policy
The current design of buses and coaches means there are limitations on the size of wheelchairs and mobility scooters that can be accommodated.
Translink has a policy around travel for wheelchair and scooter users. Learn more about Translink’s Scooter and Wheelchair Policy.
Other bus services
There are a small number of bus services delivered by other operators. In general these services currently use coaches which have poor levels of accessibility. It is best to check whether the service is accessible with the operator before travelling.
Accessibility in the Republic of Ireland
If you are travelling by bus in the Republic of Ireland you can find out more about bus and station accessibility from the Bus Éireann website.
Assistance at stations
Bus stations are generally only staffed during opening hours. At smaller stations staff are not always visible and you may have to ring a bell at the ticket desk to get their attention. Staff should provide you with assistance to use services and facilities if you require this.
Assistance on buses & coaches
Bus drivers are limited in the assistance that they can provide but are required by law to do the following:
- Lower the bus and deploy the ramp/lift to help you get on-board.
- Clear any obstructions out of your way.
- Give you time to get to your seat before moving off.
- If you need to use a priority seat including the priority space for wheelchair users they should ask anyone sitting there to move.
- Tell you when you have reached your stop if you ask them to do this.
Translink Access Guide
For more information about assistance you should receive when using bus and coach services use the Translink Access Guide. This Guide is currently under review.
Many older people and disabled people are eligible for discounted travel on all Translink bus services.
For more information about the discounts available visit the NI Direct website.
JAM (Just a Minute) Card
Translink supports the JAM Card. This a card or mobile phone App that you can show to the driver if you need more time or little extra support from the bus driver.
For more information about the JAM Card visit the Now Group website.