Public transport 'not on the radar'

Some people will never be persuaded to use public transport in Northern Ireland, a Consumer Council survey has found.

It partly blames attitudes learned at school for the fact that buses and trains "are not even on some people's radar".

Council chief executive Eleanor Gill told a Stormont committee: "What you are really dealing with is perception, and changing people, and maybe developing a champion who says 'this works for me'."

The survey found that 36% of non-users and 14% of passengers said that nothing would encourage them to make greater use of public transport.

Ms Gill said that once older children learn to drive they do not expect to make regular use of alternative forms of transport.

Nevertheless, there are a number of potential incentives, including cheaper fares, more frequent services, increased bus priority and properly integrated park-and-ride facilities.

On fares, she said: "The amount that can be saved by the multi-tickets would need to be dramatic. If they made the difference more pronounced, it would be a no-brainer."

Finally, Ms Gill said: "Maybe we should not be constrained in creative thinking to see do we need to do something to make this a value-for-money option."

Copyright © Press Association 2008