Ulsterbus is a public transport operator in Northern Ireland and operates bus services outside Belfast. It is part of Translink,the brand name for the subsidiary operating companies of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company, which also includes Northern Ireland Railways and Metro Belfast.


Ulsterbus was founded in 1967 with the creation of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company, replacing the former Ulster Transport Authority. Throughout service during The Troubles, over 800 buses would be lost, many being hijacked and set alight to form barricades. Ulsterbus has undergone a process of modernising its fleet for better accessibility for disabled people. On 26 June 2006, Translink announced that the Leyland Leopard, once synonymous with Ulsterbus, were to be phased out of service. These were replaced by the Optare Solo bus, amongst others.


Ulsterbus is responsible for most of the province-wide bus services in Northern Ireland. It operates twenty-two bus stations, several of which, such as those at Belfast Europa and Bangor, form integrated transport interchanges with Northern Ireland Railways stations) and 1,100 buses. Ulsterbus, as part of Translink, is charged with transporting over 55,000 children per day to school. Every July and August, around 250 vehicles are usually de-taxed. This is because not as many are needed for service due to schools finishing for summer holidays.


Goldline, formerly Northern Ireland Express, is the name given to the inter-city bus services operated by Ulsterbus. The Belfast-Derry service was relaunched as the Maiden City Flyer with eight new coaches in 1990 and has seen major expansion over the years: Belfast-Derry went from a thrice daily service in 1990 to half-hourly now, and many services have been expanded and introduced. Goldline services are operated from Belfast to major destinations in Northern Ireland, plus the Goldline Express Services X1/X2 (previously Service 200) to Dublin (via Dublin Airport). This service is worked jointly with Bus Éireann service X1 (previously Service 001). There are also a number of cross-channel (North Channel) services to Britain, operated in partnership with National Express under the Eurolines banner.

Ulsterbus Foyle

For many years, Derry's internal bus network was operated as Ulsterbus's Derry City Services. It was relaunched as Ulsterbus Foyle on 4 September 2006 following a review and expansion of the city's bus routes and replacement of many of the city’s older buses. In the same way that Translink Metro was used to modernise routes in Belfast, the Ulsterbus Foyle network now offers 13 set routes across and into the popular suburban areas of the city. It was hoped that the new service would make transportation in Northern Ireland's second city easier and would encourage people to make use of Derry's public transport system; in the meantime, regional services between Derry and other towns and villages were rebranded as Londonderry County services, sharing a district manager with Ulsterbus Foyle. All routes have a return journey, except FY8, which changes to FY9 for its return journey. Regional, cross border and national services depart from Foyle Street Bus Depot. Airport link services are operated by private company "Airporter", which offer links from its base in the Culmore Road to Belfast International Airport and George Best Belfast City Airport. Ulsterbus Foyle was rebranded as Foyle Metro in September 2017, with the buses branded in a deep red livery.


Ulsterbus operate the "University Link" service between the two main campuses of Northern Ireland's largest universities, Queen's University Belfast, and Ulster University at the Jordanstown campus.

Private/Contract hire

Ulsterbus offer a private and contract hire service, with virtually any type of bus in the current fleet available for hire. On a local basis, depots will allocate buses accordingly, but in the Belfast area, dedicated 'Ulsterbus Tours' buses operate. Duties include Eurolines duties 920 (Belfast – Manchester, Birmingham, London), 921 (Belfast – Preston, Manchester, Birmingham), & 923 (Belfast – Glasgow, Edinburgh).List of Eurolines routes The 921 is currently operated by three dedicated Scania/Irizar i6s, numbered 136–138. These are based in Stranraer. Overall, the tour pool operates about 30 buses for use on Day Tours, Eurolines work and private hire. The vast majority of these are based in Glengall St, operating out of milewater service centre.

Day tours

Ulsterbus operate "day tours" to other parts of Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland, mainly for shopping, but also to some tourist attractions. They also have a private hire service which is in regular use by fans of the Scottish Premier League sides Rangers F.C. and Celtic F.C. going from Northern Ireland to Scotland.


The Ulsterbus Urby service is an upgraded bus service offering USB charging, faster journeys, WiFi and leather seating. These services operate from Ballyclare, Bangor, Newtownards, Dromore, Ballygowan, Comber and Moneyreagh. The 650/650a service from Europa Bus Centre to Black's Road Park and Ride is a Metro service but branded as Urby.


External links

NI Bus

Irish Transport Trust

Ulsterbus Tours

{{authority control Category:Bus operators in Northern Ireland Category:Government-owned companies of Northern Ireland