Published: 5th September 2019

Belfast celebrates Glider’s 1st Birthday

Glider is celebrating its 1st birthday today  following a highly successful year of service.
Over 2 million additional Glider passenger journeys were made in comparison to previous bus journeys taken along the route – an increase of over 30%.   A new ‘Glider Experience’ Guide created by local heritage and tourism groups was launched today demonstrating just how much the Glider Connects people to their city.  
Pictured at the 1st birthday outside An Chultúrlann in west Belfast are
Harry Connolly, Director, Fáilte Feirste Thiar, Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor John Finucane, Kerrie Sweeney, Chief Executive of Titanic Foundation and Chris Armstrong, Tourism Manager, Eastside Partnership.

Glider is celebrating its 1st anniversary today (September 3rd) following a highly successful year of service.

Over 2 million additional Glider passenger journeys were made in comparison to previous bus journeys taken along the route – an increase of over 30% – which means around 1.67 million fewer car journeys, reducing congestion and enhancing city air quality.

Representing a £90 million investment funded by the Department for Infrastructure, Glider is Translink’s first direct cross-city service connecting east and west Belfast linking into Titanic Quarter via the city centre

Glider’s huge popularity contributed to Translink’s overall 84.5million passenger journeys across NI in 2018/19 – the highest level in over 20 years – and supports the draft Programme for Government which recognises the vital role of public transport in developing a more competitive and prosperous region.

Marking the one-year milestone, three local tourism and heritage development organisations EastSide Tourism, Fáilte Feirste Thiar and the Titanic Foundation have launched a special ‘Glider Experience’ guide to exploring the city featuring their top-rated attractions that are all accessible by Glider.

Celebrating Glider’s first year of operation, Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, said:

“Glider has transformed public transport in Belfast and there’s been a fantastic public response to the service over the past year – it’s really been embraced by people across the city!

“Passengers enjoy the convenience, frequency and ease of use Glider offers for commuting to work, socialising, shopping, studying, appointments or simply exploring Belfast while also supporting cleaner air and a less-congested city. It’s helping to unlock the city’s potential, integrating with other Translink services and new bike storage facilities that all supports more sustainable and active lifestyles.

“As Glider grows from strength to strength, we’ve been able to invest in two new vehicles and Phase 2, running between north and south Belfast, has also been announced as part of the Belfast Region City Deal. Over the past year, Glider’s also sparked great interest from other UK and European transport authorities who’ve come here to find out more about our Glider system.

“This new ‘Glider Experience’ Guide created by local heritage and tourism groups is a real tribute to the unique energy, creativity, culture and innovation found across Belfast and demonstrates just how much Glider connects people to their city– our thanks to everyone involved in its development and joining the celebrations!

“I’d also like to thank all our customers, staff and the local community for making Glider such a success story and look forward to many more exciting milestones ahead,” said Chris.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor John Finucane, said: “I’d like to add my congratulations to Translink on the Glider’s first birthday. An additional 2 million passenger journeys is an incredible achievement in one year – and I look forward to seeing those figures continuing to rise.

“We’ve committed to promoting sustainable transport in the city as part of our Belfast Agenda; it’s vital that we all seek to decrease our dependency on cars for the sake of the environment.  The Glider is also a really relaxing, reliable and affordable way of getting around the city – and with this excellent new Glider guide produced by Fáilte Feirste Thiar, EastSide Tourism and The Titanic Foundation, there’s no better way of exploring and discovering Belfast’s many attractions.”

Harry Connolly, Director, Fáilte Feirste Thiar, said: “The introduction of Glider has been a welcome addition to our way of life as local citizens helping to connect our city. Furthermore, it has had a positive impact on growing visitor numbers across the city helping to ensure that areas beyond the City Centre feel the full and positive impact associated with tourism. This publication is a practical example of partnership in action highlighting to locals and visitors alike everything that our great city has to offer.”

Maurice Kinkead, Chief Executive, EastSide Partnership, said:  “Over the last twelve months we have seen more and more folks from all across the city using the new Glider service to visit the C.S. Lewis Square or walk the Connswater Community Greenway. We now want to build on this positive momentum and showcase the wealth of attractions on offer all along the Glider route. We see this cross-city service as the golden thread which ties some of our city’s most unique visitor experiences together.”

Kerrie Sweeney, Chief Executive of Titanic Foundation, said: “Titanic Quarter welcomes over 1 million visitors every year, many of which are international tourists. The Glider plays a key role in making it easy for visitors to access local attractions, increasing the length of time they stay in the city and how much they spend. It also encourages local people to get out and about and enjoy different parts of their city, including our new Maritime Mile experience along Belfast’s iconic waterfront.”

For more information on Glider visit www.translink.co.uk and follow @Translink_NI #GliderBelfast.