Public transport to be reduced to holiday timetable in Northern Ireland

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By Rebecca Black, PA

Public transport services in Northern Ireland will be reduced in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

From Monday, bus and rail routes will be operated on a Saturday timetable.

Translink is also reducing the timetable for cross-border coach and Enterprise rail services.

Stormont Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said the changes are being introduced in response to the latest Government advice to avoid all non-essential travel and on social distancing.

She said: "These measures will have a dramatic impact on our public transport network but it is the right step to take given the clear advice from Government to avoid all non-essential travel and on social distancing and its effectiveness in the fight against Covid-19. Advice we must all follow.

"The public should be assured for those who need to travel, public transport will continue to operate and we will continue to ensure all those using public transport can do so safely in line with guidance on social distancing.

"I will keep the public transport situation under constant review in line with Government advice on public health."

Chris Conway, group chief executive of Translink, said there has been a "significant reduction" in passenger numbers.

He said the operator is committed to providing a level of public transport to allow people to make essential journeys while taking hygiene precautions.

He said: "We have enhanced our cleaning regimes and are minimising contact between staff and customers to ensure the safety of everyone involved, including encouraging purchase of prepaid tickets like m-link or using contactless payments at stations, on board trains and at Glider TVMs.

"We are urging our staff and the public to follow the advice given by the public health agency, including applying social distancing, while using our services to ensure we all stay safe and limit the spread of the virus."

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