Ulsterbus is a public transport operator in Northern Ireland and operates bus services outside Belfast. It is part of Translink (the brand name for the subsidiary operating companies of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company – NITHCo), which also includes Northern Ireland Railways, Metro Belfast and Flexibus.
A Wright Eclipse SchoolRun bus
|Headquarters||Milewater Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Service type||Bus service, Coach|
Dennis Dart SLF
Ulsterbus is responsible for most of the province-wide bus services in Northern Ireland. It operates twenty-two bus stations (several of which, such as those at Belfast Europa and Bangor, form integrated transport interchanges with Northern Ireland Railways stations) and 1,100 buses. Ulsterbus is charged with transporting over 65,000 children per day to school. Every July and August, around 250 vehicles are usually de-taxed. This is because not as many are needed for service due to schools finishing for summer holidays.
Ulsterbus is now in the process of modernising its fleet for better accessibility for disabled people. On 26 June 2006, Translink announced that the Leyland Leopard, synonymous with Ulsterbus, will be phased out of service. These are being replaced by the Optare Solo bus, amongst others.
Goldline, formerly Northern Ireland Express, is the name given to the inter-city bus services operated by Ulsterbus. The Belfast-Derry service was relaunched as the Maiden City Flyer with eight new coaches in 1990, and has seen major expansion over the years: Belfast-Derry went from a thrice daily service in 1990 to half-hourly now, and many services have been expanded and introduced. Goldline services are operated from Belfast to major destinations in Northern Ireland, plus the Goldline Express Services X1/X2 (previously Service 200) to Dublin (via Dublin Airport). This service is worked jointly with Bus Éireann service X1 (previously Service 001).
For many years, Derry's internal bus network was operated as Ulsterbus's Derry City Services. It was relaunched as Ulsterbus Foyle on 4 September 2006 following a review and expansion of the city's bus routes and replacement of many of the cities older buses.
In the same way that Translink Metro was used to modernise routes in Belfast the Ulsterbus Foyle network now offers 13 set routes across the city into the popular suburban areas of the city. It was hoped that the new service would make transportation in Northern Ireland's second city a lot easier and would encourage people to make use of Derry's public transport system; meantime, regional services between Derry and other towns and villages were rebranded as Londonderry County services, sharing a district manager with Ulsterbus Foyle.
The Ulsterbus Foyle network offers fifteen bus corridors to and from the city centre into suburban areas.
There are sub-variants of these routes and cross-city buses which do not stop in the city centre.
A free Rail Link bus connects Foyle Street Buscentre and Waterside Railway Station. All routes have a return journey, except FY8 which changes to FY9 for its return journey. Regional, cross border and national services depart from Foyle Street Bus Depot. Airport link services are operated by private company "Airporter", which offer links from its base in the Culmore Road to Belfast International Airport and George Best Belfast City Airport. Ulsterbus Foyle was rebranded as Foyle Metro in September 2017, with the buses branded in a deep red livery.
Ulsterbus operates regional and express services from Derry.
Ulsterbus operate the "University Link" service between the two main campuses of Northern Ireland's largest universities, Queens University of Belfast, and University of Ulster at the Jordanstown campus.
Ulsterbus offer a private and contract hire service, with virtually any type of bus in the current fleet available for hire. On a local basis, depots will allocate buses accordingly, but in the Belfast area dedicated 'Ulsterbus Tours' buses operate. Duties include Eurolines duties 920 (Belfast – Manchester, Birmingham, London), 921 (Belfast – Preston, Manchester, Birmingham), & 923 (Belfast – Glasgow, Edinburgh). The 921 is currently operated by three dedicated Irizar Centurys purchased in 2010 (130–132); however, these are being replaced in August 2013, by three tri-axle Scania/Irizar i6s numbered 136–138. These are based in Stranraer. Ulsterbus lost the 920 Belfast/ Stranraer to London service to Bruce of salburgh in September this year
Overall the tour pool operates about 30 buses for use on Day Tours, Eurolines work and private hire. The vast majority of these are based in Glengall St, operating out of Great Victoria Street depot.
Ulsterbus operate "day tours" to other parts of Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland; mainly shopping and to some tourist attractions. They also have a private hire service which is in regular use by fans of the Scottish Premier League sides Rangers F.C. and Celtic F.C. going from Northern Ireland to Scotland.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ulsterbus.|
- About Ulsterbus Ulsterbus.co.uk – Retrieved on 3 March 2009
- "End of era as leopard becomes extinct". BBC News. 28 June 2006. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
- Buses in Ulster Volume 6: Ulsterbus and Citybus 1988–2003
- The launch of Ulsterbus Foyle Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Link to press release for the launch of Ulsterbus Foyle. Retrieved 22 September 2006.
- List of Eurolines routes