Published: 28th MAY 2024

Switching from driving to commuting by bus: Shea’s story

Multi-modal journeys can help cut emissions and congestion while giving commuters flexibility. In this blog, Shea tells us about how he switched from commuting by car to bus during a student placement. The student has now signed up for the Active Travel Challenge which we run in Northern Ireland every June.

A young man smiles for the camera from a scenic spot beside sea cliffs on a bright sunny day.

Shea Stinson, (21), is on a student placement at BSO, one of the workplaces engaged in the Leading the Way programme we deliver in Belfast and Derry. He's now switched his journey to the office from the car to the bus and a short walk. Photo: Shea Stinson

As part of Business Service Organisation’s Health and Wellbeing / Attendance Management team, Shea works closely with Sustrans’ Leading the Way active travel officer, Dianne Whyte.

He discovered there was a cheaper, more sustainable alternative to driving to Belfast in the form of a multi-modal journey incorporating his local park and ride facility, the 212 Goldliner bus service and on foot. 

He's now signed up for the Active Travel Challenge which we run in Northern Ireland every June in partnership with Translink, the Department for Infrastructure, the Public Health Agency, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and Belfast City Council.


Car parking and fuel too expensive

Shea, who studies Human Resources Management at Ulster University, said: “I started my year-long placement in September, working from home two days a week and going into the office for the other three days.

"For the first couple of weeks, I drove, but I soon realised spending £7 - £8 a day on parking, as well as paying for fuel and lunches, meant it was just too expensive to keep doing. 

“Thankfully, I then realised I could use the Translink yLink card [for young people aged 16 – 23] on the bus and save myself a fortune.  


Limited travel options living in the country

“I live in the country between Toome and Castledawson so walking and cycling are just not viable options for me. Previously the only bus I’d been on would’ve been the school bus and I’ve never been on a train because there are no stations near me.

"We rely on our cars a lot in the country. 

“But I can drive to Toome Park and Ride car park in a matter of minutes and leave my car there before getting onto the 212 service to Belfast Europa Bus Station. Once I get off, I walk straight across the road to my office in Franklin Street, I’m there in four minutes. 

“At the end of the day, it’s back across the street and straight onto the bus which is great. When you’re coming home, you can’t be bothered driving.

"I find I get stuck in traffic far more in the car than in the bus because they can use bus lanes and the journey just seems to go faster when you can sit back on your phone." 

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The journey just seems to go faster when you can sit back on your phone. Blockquote quotation marks

“I like to use the time to call family and friends who live away – it’s a good chance to catch up when there are no other distractions. 

“The only downside is that the bus can be very busy at certain times and, as Toome is the last stop, it sometimes drives on because there’s no room for any more passengers. Luckily, my work is flexible in my hours and days so I usually get the 7.15am because the couple before it are generally full and I go into the office on Mondays and Fridays when a lot of people seem to work from home. 

“Currently I’m signed up to the Active Travel Challenge and looking forward to taking part during the month of June. Everyone should sign up and give it a go.

"I’m interested to find out the price comparison between taking the bus and driving.” 

Sign up to the Active Travel Challenge to see how much money and emissions you can save during June.


Find out more about our Leading the Way programme with workplaces in Belfast and the North West.



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