Belfast’s bus-based rapid transport scheme

The Belfast Telegraph picks up on the conclusions of the consultants engaged by the Department of Regional Development, KPMG and Atkins Limited, on the feasibility of a rapid transit network in the Greater Belfast area. As does this BBC report – more from the BBC here. The study had been extended by the Regional Development Minister, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy, to include west Belfast in July 2007. The conclusions amount to a recommendation to introduce three pilot routes of bus-based rapid transit scheme rather than a light-rail service like Dublin’s LUAS. In the course of the study the minister had visited Amsterdam recently and stopped off, on his way back, at Wrightbus. [Word document] The Minister’s statement and the report can be seen here.From the Executive Summary of the feasibility study [pdf file]

1.25 Key Recommendations

The key recommendations for each of the individual routes are outlined in the panels below.

The Key Recommendations for the CITI Core Scheme are:

?? The CITI core rapid transit scheme is a worthwhile scheme. It should be progressed to preliminary / detailed design and Outline Business Case Stages;
?? The scheme should be a bus-based rapid transit scheme, with further consideration given to the type of vehicle and guidance technology (if any) to be adopted;
?? The scheme should connect Belfast City Centre and Titanic Quarter via Queens Quay, Sydenham Road and Abercorn Crescent;
?? The design of the scheme should consider the potential migration of the system to Light Rail in the future;
?? The design of the scheme should consider further opportunities for additional off-road segregation along the route through third party land e.g. Odyssey Car Park;
?? There should be resolution of the final format & timescales for implementation of the city centre traffic management proposals, including bus priority and the City Centre Ring Road / Bankmore Link proposals;
?? There should be resolution of the final route of the rapid transit scheme through the city centre – including location of stops, level of segregation and integration with other sustainable modes of transport;
?? There should be resolution of the status and timescales for the removal of Station Street Flyover and the impact of this on rapid transit scheme;
?? There should be resolution of the infrastructure requirements for the rapid transit scheme within Titanic Quarter and consideration of planning conditions and developer contributions; and
?? There should be resolution of the level of segregation and priority that can be achieved for the rapid transit scheme along Queens Quay and Sydenham Road.

The Key Recommendations for the CITI Extension to Belfast City Airport / Tillysburn are:

?? The extension of the CITI rapid transit scheme to Belfast City Airport / Tillysburn, along the route identified in the BMTP / draft BMAP is not a worthwhile scheme; and
?? Alternative route options for the extended route should be explored at the appropriate time i.e. once firm plans for Phases 3 and 4 of Titanic Quarter are known. These alternative route options should look to maximise the use of existing highway infrastructure and minimise the impact on commercial operations..

The Key Recommendations for the CITI extension to Queens University / Belfast City Hospital are:

?? The extension of the CITI rapid transit scheme to Queens University / Belfast City Hospital could be a worthwhile scheme in principle;
?? However before this principle can be confirmed there are a number of issues to be considered further;
?? There should be resolution of the final format & timescales for implementation of the city centre traffic management proposals, including bus priority and the City Centre Ring Road / Bankmore Link proposals; and
?? There should be resolution of the level of on-street priority which can be realistically accommodated along this route without unduly impacting on current and forecast traffic conditions.

The Key Recommendations for the EWAY scheme are:

?? The EWAY rapid transit scheme is potentially a worthwhile scheme. It should be progressed to preliminary / detailed design and Outline Business Case Stages;
?? The scheme should be a bus-based rapid transit scheme, with further consideration given to the type of vehicle and guidance technology (if any) to be adopted;
?? The schemes which connect into Titanic Quarter via Dee Street Bridge (Route Options 3 and 4) are considered to be better in economic terms. They should be progressed to preliminary design stage to determine in more detail their viability in engineering terms. For example, further consideration will be required to determine the future status of Dee Street Bridge in relation to the widening of Sydenham Bypass and the level of segregation along Sydenham Road;
?? The design of the scheme should consider the potential migration of the system to Light Rail in the future;
?? The design of the scheme should consider the integration of planned / committed schemes such as Sydenham Bypass widening, Dee Street Bridge and Connswater Community Greenway project. Other possible (but not planned) schemes include Holywood Arches Bypass and Connsbank Link;
?? There should be resolution of the final format & timescales for implementation of the city centre traffic management proposals, including bus priority and the City Centre Ring Road / Bankmore Link proposals; and
?? There should be resolution of the final route of the rapid transit scheme through the city centre – including location of stops, level of segregation and integration with other sustainable modes of transport.

The Key Recommendations for the WWAY scheme are:

?? The WWAY rapid transit scheme is potentially a worthwhile scheme. It should be progressed to preliminary / detailed design and Outline Business Case Stages;
?? The scheme should be a bus-based rapid transit scheme, with further consideration given to the type of vehicle and guidance technology (if any) to be adopted;
?? The schemes which connect into the proposed development at Glenmona (Route Options O3 and O4) are considered to be better in economic terms and should be progressed to preliminary design stage to determine in more detail their viability in engineering terms;
?? The design of the scheme should consider the potential migration of the system to Light Rail in the future;
?? The design of the scheme should consider the integration of planned / committed developments in West Belfast such as St Patrick’s / Glenmona, Hannahstown Hill, Dairy Farm and Andersonstown Gateway project;
?? The design of the scheme should consider the integration of planned developments at Royal Victoria Hospital and integration of the route round or through the site;
?? There should be resolution of the final format & timescales for implementation of the city centre traffic management proposals, including bus priority and the City Centre Ring Road / Bankmore Link proposals;
?? There should be resolution of the final route of the rapid transit scheme through the city centre – including location of stops, level of segregation and integration with other sustainable modes of transport; and
?? There should be resolution of the level of segregation and priority that can be afforded to rapid transit in West Belfast and the potential impact that this will have on localised widening of roads and on-street parking.

Also from that report

Bus Rapid Transit Systems

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a rubber-tyred rapid transit service that transcends conventional bus services by providing a high quality and rapid transit service that is on par with other rapid transit options such as LRT. It combines high quality stations / stops, distinctive and high quality vehicles, off-board ticketing, dedicated running ways, a flexible operating plan and new technology into a high quality, customer focused service that is frequent, fast, reliable, comfortable and cost efficient.

BRT can provide a similar user experience to LRT including the use of high quality design for stations/stops, a branded and highly visible service and attractive vehicles. The frequency and speed of service is also higher than conventional bus and similar to LRT.

How BRT systems have been developed varies considerably – some systems use standard buses while others use high-order BRT vehicles; some use relatively modest levels of on-street priority whilst others use busways that are fully segregated from other traffic. BRT has enjoyed increasing popularity throughout the world due to growing traffic congestion, increasing pressure on budgets and a trend to lower density and decentralised development in all countries.

In the UK, a true high order BRT system does not yet exist, although a number of projects have been developed in recent years that integrate elements of BRT. This includes schemes in Crawley, Kent and Edinburgh. Examples of BRT systems in Europe include Rouen and Amsterdam.

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  • willowfield

    What is a “bus-based rapid transit scheme”?

  • willowfield

    Sorry, I see there’s an attempted explanation at the end – not really that clear.

    Very disappointing that light rail is not being recommended – can’t see how buses could be quicker or more efficient.

  • slug

    The bus based scheme is certianly cheaper.

    But at a time when we are spending unprecedented amounts on roads and this confirms a certain road bias in DRD.

    I would have liked a light rail based system at least for the ‘e-way’ to Dundonald which goes along the old rail line in East Belfast along an important commuter route.

  • slug

    Willowfield

    The RBT proposed here is somewhere between bus and rail.

    -They run on are separate lines not used by cars,
    -there are “stations” where you buy your ticket before boarding, speeding things up.
    -the frequency is very high.
    -the vehicles are attractive and the ride is smooth

    I would say they MIGHT be good taxpayer value for money and the lower cost may mean that more routes can be developed. Also hopefully the routes can be upgraded later to llight rail.

    However my point remains that DRD seems rather car-focussed since there is so much money going into roads and thie is still a small % of the road development budget.

  • slug

    Bus rapid Transit

    WIllow you can read a little more here. It seems that a lot depends on the type of BRT that is developed. At the better end, they sound much better smoother and faster than a normal bus.

  • percy

    peteb
    Had to laugh when I saw KPMG.
    We’ve had em down in Brighton charging £500 p/hr to advise us how to spend our local taxes.
    Their always in Private Eye, absolute rip-off.
    Belfast needs to say to them with one voice “narf orf” 😉

  • Alan

    So this is a plan that hopes to reduce congestion in newly developing areas of Belfast, but does nothing to reduce areas of existing congestion.

    Are the Southern approaches no longer a transport issue, do we just accept that the M1, Lisburn Rd, Malone, Ormeau and across Castlereagh will become car parks? Is it beyond the wit of consultants to recognise that widening the Westlink is only going to encourage the development of car based suburbia along the southern approaches, leading to further congestion. Why was this not tackled?

    Buses are great – I regularly travel to work by bus. Staff are courteous, buses warm. But they do regularly run late, some buses just don’t turn up. I can’t depend on a bus to get me to an appointment on time without accepting a huge unpredictability addition to the traveling time, so then I use taxis.

    Finally, let’s nail one thing to the wall – if this BRT is to make any difference, it has to run like a train – with it’s own stations / pick ups and it’s own line – all the way in and all the way out. Otherwise it will just end up another Translink service, leaving you standing in the cold as the service times click down but the bus fails to arrive. I can see it 50 yards up the road, but it’s surrounded by unmoving cars each with one fuming passenger.

  • Wrightbus is the key here. To claim BRT is equivalent to LRT is stretching credibility from both a service level point of view and a customer take up point of view. But it would be politically unsayable because how could the pork be directed locally when Wrightbus don’t make LR vehicles?

  • Buses are great – I regularly travel to work by bus.

    To get to Stormont by 9.50 a.m., I have to leave home in Fortwilliam by 8.30 a.m. Leave home at 8.30 a.m. by car, and even at that busiest of all periods, I get to Stormont by 8.55 a.m. Also, taking the car means I don’t have to stand freezing on the Antrim Road on a winter morning when the wind is coming off the Cave Hill like a razor blade. Buses are OK except when you compare them with cars!!!

    For some journeys, the bus is great – generally, into and out of town is grand and if I go to the Opera House, taking the bus means I can go for a drink after and get home in not much less time than it takes to drive. But cross-town or long-distance journeys are hell.

    The lack of ambition in this document is startling. The West Belfast scheme is only aimed at carrying 632 passengers in the peak morning hour, which I would guess is substantially less than existing bus and black taxi services carry at peak times on the Lower Falls at present.

    As for the idea that Belfast is too small/insufficiently dense for trams, this is just bunk. Many French, Belgian and especially German cities manage to support trams despite being much smaller than Belfast. Mulhouse, with a metropolitan population of 271k has introduced a tram network in the past two years and is expanding it. Belfast, with a metropolitan population of 580k can’t? I don’t think so.

  • joeCanuck

    It’s essential that this scheme passes the new stadium.

  • joeCanuck

    Buffalo NY has an excellent light rail system. One of the attractions of it is that it is free inside the downtown core.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sammy

    Agreed on the lack of ambition.

    If Belfast is too small to justify a tram network, how come it used to have one?

  • Muad’Dib

    More importantly, Billy Pillgrim, how come other cities of the same size and some even small currently have them and found them most effective?

  • willis

    This may explain, from the Mulhouse Tram website.

    Un tram financé par des subventions et “le versement transport”

    En France, les transports publics urbains (bus, tram, métro) sont principalement financés par une taxe appelée le « versement transport ». Cette taxe (d’un taux maximal de 1,80%) est prélevée sur les entreprises publiques et privées de plus de neuf personnes.

    Pour construire le nouveau réseau du tramway, le Sitram a bénéficié d’autres ressources. En 2001, le budget de la première tranche – qui correspond au réseau mis en service cette année – était estimé à 249 millions d’euros. Sur ce total, 41,5 millions de subventions ont été accordés par l’Etat, le Département du Haut-Rhin, la Région Alsace et l’Union européenne. La part du Sitram était estimée à 207,6 millions d’euros, principalement financée par des emprunts à long terme, remboursés grâce au versement transport.

    This of course is why France is in Economic meltdown.

  • elvis parker

    ‘It’s essential that this scheme passes the new stadium.’
    Isnt this Eway going to go down by Titanc Quarter then?

  • dub

    under continuing british rule, ni will remain a political and economic backwater and that is how the british want it. go check out what happens after you get off the M1 after Carlingford.

    Compare Republic’s Transport 21 plans with this.. the difference is so vast as to be more comparable to difference bewteen a 1st world and third world country. but that’s what you guys have voted for…

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Fair comment Dub.

    While we’re talking about a tarted-up bus service, they’ve opened two Luas lines and have two Metro lines and nine more Luas lines planned for Dublin. Meanwhile the FF-Green coalition have commissioned feasibility studies for light railway systems for Cork, Galway, Limerick and even Waterford.

    Cork and Galway apparently are real runners here – both cities much smaller than Belfast. (Though much richer and more dynamic.)

    In an all-island republic, not only would a Belfast Luas probably already be halfway completed, there’d be serious consideration given to one for Derry too.

    This is the price of unionist identity.

    As for the issue of costs, it’s worth pointing out that Luas makes a profit of just under €1m per year.

  • BonarLaw

    “This is the price of unionist identity”

    ROTFLMAO!

  • Dewi

    I always bridle a bit at the use of the word “rapid” to describe urban/commuter transit systems. Reliability, puncuality and capacity more important.”Rapidity” is what is needed between Belfast and Derry.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Guided buses are known by some as “misguided buses”. Favoured by politicians because they are cheap, they fail in the single most significant measurement of a public transportation system’s success : the ability to get people out of their cars. It may be a bus running on a segregated route, but at the end of the day it’s still a bus, and the snobby middle classes won’t touch it.

    It also has to be value for money, and that’s the part that NI’s trains and buses don’t do well, given that they are run more or less at cost (in fact, over the past few years, Translink has underspent and returned money to the treasury!). It costs me about the same to travel to work by car, in petrol terms, as it does to get a monthly train ticket. Given that using the train involves a 15 minute walk in the cold and wet, and that the train often doesn’t show up, this isn’t a value proposition.

    The DRD have been floating this guided bus idea for some time now, each of the two previous DRD ministers have been touting it (showing that really they are little more than mouthpieces for the civil servants there) and I’ve no doubt that this silly plan, which has no direct comparison elsewhere in the UK, has been floated in part due to their distinctly road-biased, anti-rail perspective. It’s funny how the NI government spends most of their time ensuring it is complying with standard practice elsewhere in the UK, and then they go and choose this daft plan to go out on a limb with.

    As to the plan itself, most of the routes described look pointless. The West Belfast and Dundonald routes are at least attempting to help people get from the suburbs into the city, although the routes essentially mirror existing bus routes which surely begs the question as to why this plan can’t be brought into being by creating proper Quality Bus Corridors, like they have in Dublin, with regular bus services both on and off peak. There are other routes linking the Titanic Quarter and the University, but given that these places are essentially a 15 minute walk or link bus ride from City Hall, I question the sanity of anyone who says that we really need a dedicated, segregated bus service to move people along those routes.

    The plan does not seem to be generally aimed at maximising the throughput of commuters and shoppers between the suburbs and the city; instead it seems like a “do something” plan, and I get the feeling that this white elephant proposal seems to be more concerned with advertising the 21st century status of the city than it is with transporting people around efficiently. The major outlying routes beyond Dundonald (what about Ballybeen), North Belfast (what about Glengormley and Newtownabbey?) and South Belfast have essentially been ignored (although in fairness the West Belfast route is reasonably sensible). It seems like a waste of money to spend a couple of hundred million quid on an unintegrated, ill-considered white elephant candidate like this.

    For the money it would be much better to improve the frequency of buses and subsidize them further to increase the value proposition. Improve the roads on the main arterial routes and add segregated quality bus corridors so that buses can get in and out of the town quickly. Have proper bus tracking monitors so that it’s easy for people to see when the next bus will be coming.

  • I hate…yes…HATE Derry

    A Derry LUAS? Will it encourage them to stay up there…? Gets my vote!

  • IJP

    Another total fiasco from a Minister being given the total runaround by his officials.

    I must credit a Green Party member with the line: “this is a government run by accountants, not by economists.”

    Sums it up. Buses may be cheaper initially, but they’re a darned slight more expensive when nobody uses them and our economic attractiveness/competitiveness is severely impeded by ever increasing congestion.

    The Executive has given up on corporation tax, the US Investment Conference is already a write-off, so they’re going to come up with something that really makes Belfast stand out. Turning it into the example of how a city with a real commitment to everything associated with a green economy would make it the stand-out city in the UK and Ireland. Leaving it as is, the most polluted city in the British Isles with the slowest-moving traffic in Ireland, means it will remain a forsaken backwater. The Minister has chosen the latter.

    We’re all second-class citizens now.

  • D.A.

    Horrendously small-minded, short-termist claptrap yet again from the ridiculously pro-roads DRD and their “consultants” who are seemingly only paid to tell the DRD what the DRD already wants…

    As someone stated above, for this BRT system to work, it needs to be so segregated from normal traffic that they’d be as well just spending the money and going the whole hog with LRT instead.

    By the way Conor, if the executive is going to spend all this money, any chance they could give Translink some money to develop an integrated ticketing system for the current network please? Or could it be that you don’t actually have a notion what you’re doing and are just a mouthpiece?

  • steve white

    how much are the mainline trains stations used for local commuters?

    anybody have a map of where the trams used to be ?

    any rail lobby groups with proposed routes?

  • Harry Flashman

    The city I live in has a BRT system and is expanding it all the time, I think it’s brilliant. I wouldn’t dream of using the car if my journey takes me to a destination along the route.

    It’s no good dismissing it as the “cheap” option as if that is automatically a bad thing. They tried building a monorail system here but that was simply unaffordable, no amount of government subsidy could persuade anyone to back the project and now all we have around the city are ugly half finished concrete pillars that were put up before the project ran into the sand, meanwhile the bus system thrives and moves hundreds of thousands around quickly and cheaply.

    There’s a tendency among tram advocates to back it because of the twee “ooh they’re so European!” attitude whereas busses are regarded as somehow nasty and British for some unfathomable reason.

    If the BRT works then use it, don’t dismiss it out of hand.

  • Crataegus

    I agree there is nothing wrong with BRT if done properly.

    For buses to be effective they need to be largely separate from the rest of road traffic and let us face it that is just not going to happen here.

    Whatever system of transport we use it needs to be a coordinated system optimising what we have and planned in with new development. The only thing we are good at is planning in the roads, we can’t even manage to plan in adequate sewerage treatment so what chance will there be for a rational public transport system?

    I have long been off the view that the Planning Service (and Roads Service) need shaken up, but to do that requires Ministers with real ability. Ministers that know what the issues are. Ministers with some sense of real purpose.

    Local transport priorities.

    1 Get the existing rail network working effectively, new stations, new rolling stock, some minor new lines (Aldergrove) more passing places etc. Encourage people to commute in from places like Templepatrick, but they won’t do it if there are no stations and few trains.

    2 Coordinate bus links with the trains.

    3 More radial bus routes.

    4 Coordinated and simple ticketing for trains and buses.

    We need to do this now. In ten years time the cost of petrol could be eye watering.

    If you want to invest in property or are buying a house (wait to later in the year if you can) my tip would be go for communities with a good commuter rail link and a good secondary school. I can almost guarantee that there will be no significant improvement in public transport here in the next ten years, so base investment on what is there already.

  • slug

    In Oxford more people use public transport than any other city outside London, and its entirely bus-based with quality bus lanes but no BRT. The bus frequency is good and the option of car too slow.

  • willis

    Harry

    Oh no! Don’t be telling them that. What will be the cost of the jollies – sorry – feasibility studies.

    BTW which city is it?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Harry,

    I wouldn’t diss the guided bus purely because it’s cheap; it’s just that trams and rail-based transport are perceived as more reliable and quicker. The majority of passengers using these routes will be people who already use the existing bus routes.

    I don’t think there are many guided bus routes in the US – where’s the one that you’re referring to ? OTOH, the US has lots of really good rail-based suburban transport systems. Monorails generally seem to be a bit of a joke. They have one in Las Vegas and it’s pathetic.

  • willis

    In almost every situation you can go back to the inspiring words of Margaret Thatcher for direction.

    “Any man who rides a bus to work after the age of 26 can count himself a failure in life.”

  • In Oxford more people use public transport than any other city outside London, and its entirely bus-based with quality bus lanes but no BRT.

    Oxford is a quarter of the size of Belfast and has a sizeable proportion of its population in the City Centre, so the issues are different. But I agree there is a lot to learn from their implementation of Park and Ride. Plus I like a city where I can feel comfortable riding a sit up and beg bike around wearing a tweed jacket and bow-tie.

    I don’t think there are many guided bus routes in the US – where’s the one that you’re referring to ?

    I’d always assumed Harry lived in Dubai or Muscat, but after that comment, I’m now leaning towards Perth or, even more likely, Adelaide and he’s talking about the O-Bahn.

  • joeCanuck

    Wonder what John Major thought about Maggie saying that? Wasn’t he once a bus conductor?

  • gram

    >Monorails generally seem to be a bit of a joke. They have one in Las Vegas and it’s pathetic.<< Not a supporter of monorails but a key reason the Vegas one is gonna fail is that they neglected to attach it to the airport. Genius. On the subject of the proposed BRT routes. It seems they've selected 2 that will be easy to implement (east Belfast and Titanic) rather than routes that are actually needed Castlereagh, Ormeau, Saintfield road, Lisburn Road etc. The key issue is segregating the cars from the buses. To encourage uptake the routes should be free to use and paid for by a Belfast conjestion charge.

  • BonarLaw

    Sammy Morse

    I agree (!), it’s Adelaide.

  • The Raven

    Crataegus, may I add to your list:

    Explore more fully the potential for home working;

    Stop employers constantly demanding “must have access to transport for the purposes of the job”; (by the way, they write that because they aren’t allowed to discriminate against people who have drivers, or bikers, but they really mean “we’d like you to own a car”);

    Try and sell the staggered opening times concept a bit more to the retail trade – I know this was looked at in Belfast, but I don’t know if took off at all, and I don’t know of it happening outside of Belfast;

    And is it the Japanese who use a system in some of their cities, where you are allocated a disc which dictates the times you are allowed to take your car into city centres – e.g., one week you can take it in, the next you can’t…that sort of thing? (Anyone knows any more about this last one, please feel free to correct me)

    There’s many more but I gotta be elsewhere. My point is that there is as much on the societal and habits side of things that has to be changed as there is on the physical infrastructure side….things that may not cost an arm and a leg…?

  • BonarLaw

    The Raven

    car sharing lanes, odd/ even days for cars dependant upon their registration, congestion charging, £120.00 parking fines… the list is almost endless.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Not a supporter of monorails but a key reason the Vegas one is gonna fail is that they neglected to attach it to the airport. Genius.

    No, the reason why it failed (past tense) is because it’s merely a fancy way of connecting between the casinos. The Deuce bus up and down the strip is much cheaper and more frequent!

    Did anyone ever see the episode of The Simpsons where the con artist shows up to build the monorail in Springfield ? Sums it up pretty well.

    Cratageus, that was the best post in the thread. I think we could do a lot by issuing the DRD with a can of white paint and a big brush, and get some quality bus lanes in there. I especially like BonarLaw’s suggestion of a £120 car fine. I use my car quite frequently, but I pride myself on sticking to the rules, and I’d much rather the government funded things by penalizing those who cannot take a little care and do the same.

  • The Raven

    Bonar – that’s exactly the sort of things, thanks for picking that up.

    But as an OT aside…the congestion charge…I’m not against it per se. But I’d like to see plenty of exclusions. One in particular would be for micro-enterprise – not just White Van Man, but those small companies that employ, say, 1-3 people. I wouldn’t like to see the charge become yet another burden on what is essentially, the backbone of our local economy.

    Cheers

  • willis

    On the ticketing front…..

    If any of you have an Oyster card you will know how far behind we are here.

    The Metro card needs constant renewing. It loses value after 3 months. Why?

    There is no common ticketing across Ulsterbus, Metro and NIR despite being owned by the same company.

    In London an Oyster card works across a range of Bus, underground, rail, light rail, tram and maybe even river boats.

  • Dewi

    Points about ticketing are useful – but u need a strategy first – and for cities forget elegance – its what works the best.

  • Chris Emmett

    What was wrong with connor murphy? Was he on the drink the night before, deciding that a light rail system wouldnt pay for itself? Has he taken the bus recently? What a load of rubbish. There were trams in Belfast years ago before he was born. Wouldnt a bigger bus produce more nasty chemicals from its exhaust? And so do more harm to the enviroment? Why was Arthur Achesons idea not mentioned?
    Wouldnt a proper underground system for belfast, Newtownards,Donaghadee, Dundonald not be more efficient? What about the titanic Quarter, it would look more attractive and less likely to stop all the traffic getting out when there is a show on at the oddesay.

    Obviously Connor was thinking of another holiday and a new car for himself and maybe a new house, when He agreed that this big rapid transport bus would be suitable for belfast.

    Belfast is becoming more popular with tourists now and what do we offer them in public transport?

    Well theres the train which has risen in price, but most of the time gets you from a to b.

    Theres the metro(silly bus name)service.

    Now theres a going to be a Big Bus.

    What would get you to your destination quicker?

    A bus stuck in traffic accident?

    The Metro.

    The train.

    Taxi.

    Theres only one answer there, oviously the train, as there is no cars driving on the railway line.

    I wouldnt want to pay taxes out of my pay for a shitty bus service, which is state of the art, but doesnt get you to your destination quicker.

    Also what happens if this super bus is involved in a traffic accident?Or needs to move out of the way of its bus corridor for an ambulance or police. Does it fly too?

  • majordolittle

    Chris Emmett, spot on. I take my car because the bus service is more expensive, slower, and unreliable.
    It is not a sign of backwardness that a new rail service is paramount. The addiction to private (car) transport can only be dealt with by efficient public transport. This is evident in many European cities, including some UK and Irish ones-Manchester and Dublin. Conor needs to get out of his limousine more.

  • Harry Flashman

    Perth doesn’t really have a BRT as such, the free bus service which rings the central business district is certainly very good but not exactly the same as a BRT. Dubai doesn’t have a BRT but why would they need one with big highways, cheap oil and even cheaper Pakistani taxi drivers (in the words of the old cartoon, “once more round the block Ahmed we have to use the stuff up somehow”).

    As to my exact location I’m afraid I can’t disclose that as tax collectors, ex-wives and staff at Derry’s GUM clinic are very keen to track me down, not to mention the embarassing misunderstanding involving the plain clothes police constable in Antrim’s public toilets (damnation my zip was stuck that’s all!).

  • willis

    And I thought your nom-de-guerre was a reference to George McDonald Fraser’s most famous creation.