Department move to open Belfast bus lanes will compromise public transport in city

pe_00694871Unite to engage with membership on response to threat to both BRT project and City bus services

Unelected Department officials appear more concerned with appeasing private taxi lobby than with defending public transport provision

March 9th: Responding to reports that the Department of Infrastructure had written to objectors to the twelve hour operation of BRT bus lanes in an attempt to ‘buy them off’ by opening all bus routes throughout the city to Class A taxis, Unite Regional Officer Davy Thompson said:

“This is a shocking revelation. More than £100 million has been spent on the BRT project and now because of an organised lobby of private taxi operators the integrity of this investment is to be cast aside. It is imperative for the success of this project, and to deliver the step-change we need to public transport provision in our city, that only buses be allowed to access the dedicated BRT bus lanes.

“The BRT buses are much longer than the standard city bus so the impact of taxis blocking lanes will be dramatic – resulting in extended delays as these longer vehicles are unable to change lanes. What’s more, the project centres on an attempt to replicate some of the advantages – at a lower cost – of a tram operating on dedicated lanes and having significantly shorter journey times. This move will completely undermine that objective.

“But what is most inexcusable is that in an apparently craven attempt to ‘buy-off’ the objections of a well-connected, private sector lobby, unelected Department of Infrastructure officials have offered to open all bus lanes to Class A taxis across the city. This will have a very significant and adverse impact on the travelling public. It will mean increased congestion and pollution in a city with already one of the worst congestion problems in the UK and where hundreds every year suffer chronic illnesses resulting from car fumes.

“This is completely unacceptable and we question whether it will deliver anything in terms of avoiding delays to the commencement of the scheme. As a union we will be engaging with our membership to determine the most appropriate response to this attack on bus services in our capital city”, Mr Thompson said.

This entry was posted in Northern Ireland news, Press Releases, Public Services and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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