Innovative new public transport service launches in Belfast

Innovative new public transport service launches in Belfast
© William Murphy

The city of Belfast, UK, has launched passenger services on its innovative new public transport service, Glider.

The Belfast Rapid Transit Glider aims to serve a rapidly growing city with fast, high-capacity and high-frequency services along existing bus and rail routes. As part of its long-term agenda, the city of Belfast aims to create 50,000 jobs by 2035 for an additional 70,000 residents, and the innovative new public transport service will attract outside investment and support development by connecting local communities across the city.

In recognition of the value that fast and efficient public transport will deliver for the city of Belfast, the project has received some £90m in investment from Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure, and was part-funded by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund.

What environmental impact will the Glider service have?

Glider utilises a fleet of hybrid vehicles, which are more environmentally sound than those using traditional fossil fuels, each of which can carry up to 105 passengers. The system is also pioneering smart ticketing with Translink’s Future Ticketing System, facilitating faster journeys with off-board ticketing.

Public transport services in Belfast were used for 81 million passenger journeys last year alone, the highest number in 20 years, and for this reason, an innovative new public transport service that is smart, connected and environmentally friendly will be vital to ensuring sustainable growth for the city.

What have the stakeholders said about the project?

The launch of the service was attended by Deirdre Hargey, Lord Mayor of Belfast, as well as representatives from Translink and the Government of Northern Ireland. David Sterling, head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, emphasised the positive impact the new service would have on passenger journeys.

Sterling said: “The Belfast Rapid Transit Glider service is all about customers and connectivity. It offers an enhanced customer experience and a joined up service. The current patterns of transport and our dependency on the private car are simply not sustainable. Working together we can reduce emissions and congestion levels. That’s why we have a very clear commitment… to increase the percentage of journeys we make by public transport, walking and cycling.”

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