Ulsterbus services that qualify for TaxSmart salary sacrifice scheme

The request was partially successful.

Karl Gallagher

Dear Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company,

Please provide a definitive list relating to ALL Ulsterbus services and their qualifying status for tax deductible savings under the TaxSmart scheme.

The information should be broken down as follows:

1)Ulsterbus services which qualify for the TaxSmart scheme - defined by Ulsterbus service number (e.g 212) and point-to-point journey name (e.g Ballymena to Belfast).

2)Ulsterbus services which DO NOT qualify for the TaxSmart scheme - defined by Ulsterbus service number (e.g 212) and point-to-point journey name (e.g Ballymena to Belfast).

Yours faithfully,
Karl Gallagher.

FOI, Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company

Dear Mr. Gallagher,

I acknowledge receipt of your request, received via our FOI Inbox on 8 May 2012. This will be dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and a fuller response will issue in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Janice Davidson
FOI Co-Ordinator
For and on behalf of Translink

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FOI, Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company

Dear Mr. Gallagher,

Further to my earlier brief acknowledgement I am now in a position to respond more fully to your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

In order to ensure the TaxSmart scheme is compliant with HMRC rules TaxSmart cards can only be issued for journeys that can be undertaken by a bus service which stops at least every 15 miles. As a result, TaxSmart cards can be used on all Metro and most Ulsterbus services within Northern Ireland, with a small number of exceptions.

These few exceptions relate to precise portions of specific Translink routes/services, i.e. even the exceptions do not cover the entire bus route. Bearing this in mind, it is difficult for to easily explain where exactly the exceptions apply and where they do not.

We feel that the best way to advise customers is to allow them to complete a Request for Quotation, with full details of their boarding and alighting stages, after which we will assess whether or not their journey is eligible or ineligible and advise them accordingly.

For those whose route is not eligible within the HMRC rules which bound the scheme, we encourage them to consider Bus or Rail Commuter Cards as the next best alternative.

I should point out that due to licensing rules TaxSmart cards cannot be used on any Ulsterbus cross-border services jointly operated with Bus Éireann.

I trust the foregoing deals with the various queries which you raised. If you are not satisfied with this reply you may complain to the Translink Commercial & Services Director, who has overall responsibility for Freedom of Information and Data Protection issues within the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company/Translink organisation. Correspondence should be addressed to: Translink, Chamber of Commerce House, 22 Great Victoria Street, Belfast BT2 7LX.

If we are then unable to resolve any complaint that you may have, you may refer the matter to the Information Commissioner who will make an independent judgement. The address of the Information Commissioner is: Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AT. The address of the Information Commissioner’s Office for Northern Ireland is: 51 Adelaide Street, Belfast, BT2 8FE.

Yours sincerely,

JANICE DAVIDSON
Freedom of Information Co-Ordinator
For and on behalf of Translink

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Dear Janice,

Thanks for your reply and for the useful information.
Unfortunately, it seems that to acquire the data I desire, I would need to submit an application for a TaxSmart quote for each service concerned. Obviously this is not a viable option for me.

Perhaps we can narrow the scope of the data required?
Can I get a breakdown of qualifying status, (on the same terms as my original request,) Limited to Ulsterbus Goldline express services, where the point-to-point journey distance is greater than 30km?

Yours sincerely,

Karl Gallagher

FOI, Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company

Dear Mr. Gallagher,

Thank you for your further feedback.

Having considered your request I must advise that to produce point to point inclusions/exclusions for all Goldline services would still involve a very large matrix. However, if you could identify specific routes/journeys in which you are interested, we could look at how these would be considered under the TaxSmart scheme. Alternatively, if it would be helpful we could arrange a phone call with one of our Ticketing Department staff.

I will await your further instruction.

Yours sincerely,

Janice Davidson
FOI Co-ordinator
For and on behalf of Translink

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Dear Jane,

Thanks for the further update.
To narrow the scope further, I am most interested in the following journeys:
1.Goldline service 219 Ballymena to Belfast - boarding at Ballymena, disembarking at Belfast europa

2.Goldline service 210 Cookstown to Belfast - boarding at Cookstown, disembarking at Belfast europa

3.Goldline service 261 Enniskillen to Belfast - boarding at Enniskillen, disembarking at Belfast europa

4.Goldline service 238 Newry to Belfast - boarding at Newry, disembarking at Belfast europa

5.Goldline service 212 Londonderry to Belfast - boarding at Londonderry, disembarking at Belfast europa

Yours sincerely,

Karl Gallagher

FOI, Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company

Dear Mr. Gallagher,

 

Further to your request for consideration of specific bus journeys under
the terms and conditions of the TaxSmart system, I can advise as follows.

 

The following of the 5 example journeys which you quoted are ineligible:

-              Londonderry/Derry to Belfast (as the only available
Ulsterbus service is the 212 via the motorway between Toome and Belfast -
28.3 miles)

-              Enniskillen to Belfast (as the only available Ulsterbus
service is the 261 via the motorway between Loughview and Belfast - 23.2
miles)

 

The following journeys are eligible:

-              Newry to Belfast - express and (stage carriage) stopping
services available to customers which comply with the 15-mile rule

-              Ballymena to Belfast - stage carriage services available
which comply with the 15-mile rule

-              Cookstown to Belfast - stage carriage services available
which comply with the 15-mile rule

 

NB The rules of the scheme are that the customer is compliant if they make
their bus journey between the home boarding stage and work alighting stage
specified on their TaxSmart card.

 

I trust this additional information is helpful.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Janice Davidson

FOI Co-ordinator

For and on behalf of Translink

 

 

    

 

Go Car Free, Go Care Free with Translink

 

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Translink is a trading name used by any one or more of the companies under
the ultimate ownership of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company
(NITHC). The Group comprises NITHC as parent company which owns Citybus
Limited (which also trades as “Metro”) (NI009039) Flexibus Limited
(NI006724) NIR Travel Limited (NI021091) Northern Ireland Railways Company
Limited (NI006929) Ulsterbus Limited (NI006725), Translink (NI) Limited
(NI006673) and Travel NI Limited (NI017638) - each of which is registered
in Northern Ireland and has its registered office at 3 Milewater Road,
Belfast BT3 9BG.

 

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