Evening operation of midibus feeder services connecting the Glider rapid transit service in Belfast may be expanded to counter commuters’ reluctance to use the first and last mile links.
Speaking at the UK Bus Summit in London on 6 February, Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure transport projects director Ciarán de Búrca admitted that there is some passenger resistance — especially on wet days — to using the feeder routes provided at the eastern and western extremities of the cross-city Glider route.
These were introduced because it would be difficult to accommodate the 18m Van Hool Exqui.City bendybuses in housing estates. The feeders, operated mainly with Optare Solos, combine with the Glider route to provide a more frequent service than the direct Metro routes that they replace, but he says passengers perceive the change of vehicles as an inconvenience and some prefer to drive to a park-&-ride site rather than use the connecting bus.
‘We’re looking at running the feeders later at night, perhaps meeting every third Glider from the city, to give them more confidence in the service,’ he says.