Long welcomes Rapid Transit news but says ‘quality is the key’

Commenting on Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy’s statement that a rapid transit network for Belfast is viable, Alliance Deputy Leader Naomi Long MLA has welcomed the announcement, but said that the quality of any provision would ultimately be the key to its success.

The Alliance Regional Development Spokesperson said: “The study’s conclusion that rapid transit is viable moves us a step closer to delivery, which is clearly welcome; however, the success of any venture will ultimately hinge on the quality of provision. If we are to be serious about rapid transit then we need to see a commitment to light rail, rather than settling for essentially an off-road bus system for the city.

“In most comparable European cities, light rail and tram systems form an integral part of the transport strategy. We need a transit system, which is not just effective but also attractive and that will get people out of their cars and will reach people in highly-populated areas, linking them to places of work and leisure.

“This is an essential part of ensuring that as many areas of the city as possible are accessible to as many people as possible. If we are serious about sustainability, both in terms of environmental good practice and transport systems built to last, we need a full, rail-based transit system serving the whole of Greater Belfast, not just a few miles of guided busway.

“Improving public transport in Belfast is essential, and we need to ensure that the Executive do not sell the city short but provide the best quality system possible, and experience shows that rail must be part of the equation.”


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