PS1bn spent on new trains & buses.. but car still rules.
Byline: MICHAEL MCHUGH
MORE than PS1billion was spent on buses and trains during the first decade of this century but most people still preferred the car, the audit office has revealed.
Morning rush-hour bus speeds on main routes in Belfast fell by a fifth due to time spent picking up increased passengers.
Belfast's rapid transit system, planned for March 2012, was delayed until 2017 because of tough economic circumstances.
The number of rail passenger journeys doubled to 13 million with the introduction of new rolling stock but bus numbers increased by just 1.5% to 67 million, comptroller and auditor general Kieran Donnelly said.
He added: "Public transport has enjoyed investment of PS1.1billion in the first decade of this century.
"However, DRD needs to do more to attract people on to public transport and make it their choice mode of travel."
Ulsterbus provided a higher level of service than comparable regions in Great Britain while Metro service levels compared less favourably than GB cities.
The audit office said: "We found a paucity of professional public transport skills available within DRD.
"This limits their ability to influence public transport services and effectively hold Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company/Translink to account."
IMPROVED Metro service