Metro (Belfast) - Belfast Metro History - A

Metro (Belfast) - A

Metro is the trading name for bus company Citybus in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is a subsidiary of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company, within the common management structure of Translink, along with Ulsterbus and Northern Ireland Railways.

Metro (Belfast) History

Bus services began in Belfast under the Belfast Corporation Transport Department. For a time in the early 1950s, these buses ran alongside both the tram and trolleybus networks run by the Corporation until these networks were eventually abandoned, and like most mainland operators, Belfast Corporation ran a mixture of single deck and double-deck buses. The Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company acquired the operations of the Transport Department in 1970, and in 1973, the Transport Department was renamed to Belfast Citybus and was integrated with fellow NITHC company Ulsterbus, with both companies being managed by Werner Heubeck.

Citybus drivers and their buses were often caught in the crossfire of rioting and paramilitary action during The Troubles. Buses were often hijacked and used as burning barricades, and drivers were assaulted or robbed, while a total of 17 Ulsterbus and Citybus employees were killed over the course of The Troubles. 1,484 buses from both fleets were maliciously destroyed from 1964 to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, with second-hand vehicles occasionally acquired from British operators.

Bus services in and around Belfast often ran in competition with black cab taxis throughout the 1970s and 1980s. These offered lower fares and provided individual services for Belfast's Protestant and Catholic communities at times when bus services were forced off the road by disorder and paramilitary action.

The Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company was rebranded to Translink in 1996. The Citybus name was initially retained through this rebranding process, however in 2004, it was announced that Citybus would be rebranded to 'Metro' in a network shake-up. The Metro network was launched on 7 February 2005.

Buses were painted in a pink and white livery, in contrast to the blue and white livery of Ulsterbus, and the improved network of services was based on twelve quality bus corridors (QBCs) around Greater Belfast, promising a five to ten minute bus frequency. Over 540 complaints were made to Translink following the launch of Metro, largely due to buses arriving later than timetabled, however the launch was hailed as a success by Translink, citing a 6.3% increase in passenger numbers.

Metro (Belfast) Overview

Metro (Belfast) Parent: Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company
Metro (Belfast) Founded: 1973 (as Citybus)
2005 (as Metro)

Metro (Belfast) Service Area: Belfast
Metro (Belfast) Service Type: bus service, bus rapid transit
Metro (Belfast) Fleet: 260
Metro (Belfast) Operator: Translink (Northern Ireland)


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