Friday, 22 April 2016
NI Railways, Ulsterbus and Metro are all part of Translink, which is answerable to the Minister for Regional Development in Northern Ireland, Michelle McIlveen MLA.
I gather that the brand new, multi-million-pound Belfast Rapid Transit service is beginning in the next few years.
They have declared that passengers will be able to pay for their journeys in cash.
Frankly I think Translink needs to catch up with technological progress and enter the 21st century.
I'm very well aware that the transport system in Belfast is hardly comparable to that of the Metropolis, viz. Transport for London.
However, you cannot use cash to pay for your bus fare in London.
The ways to pay in London are as follows:
I have been present when a Belfast Metro bus has stopped at the Connswater Bridge Stop at Newtownards Road.
If there are several passengers, some pay in cash.
If they don't have the correct fare, it can take up to two or three minutes for the driver to deal with the transaction.
At the same time the bus is effectively blocking a vehicle lane and traffic flow is interrupted.
I am certainly not against Cash in principle; indeed it's essential for petty transactions every day.
However, my issue is one of efficiency.
If Translink, for whatever reason, refuses to embrace the cash-free method, at least an effective deterrent could be introduced.
For instance, if a passenger doesn't have the exact fare, no change will be given.
Does Translink employ a department to handle all the cash and coinage handled daily?
There's another saving for the taxpayer.