Thursday, 22 November 2012

NI Executive agree to proceed with £98.5m Belfast Rapid Transit system

The Northern Ireland Executive has today endorsed the Department for Regional Development’s Outline Business Case for the Belfast Rapid Transit system. The document identifies the recommended network routes, procurement strategy and business model for Belfast Rapid Transit.


The three Belfast Rapid Transit routes will initially link Dundonald in East Belfast, McKinstry Road in West Belfast and the Titanic Quarter with and through the city centre. These routes will connect with a one-way city centre loop which is currently being facilitated by the Department’s Belfast on the Move Transport Masterplan.

  • The CITI Route will travel from Queen Elizabeth Bridge along Queen’s Quay and Queen’s Road to Titanic Quarter and will return to the city centre via Queen’s Road, Queen’s Quay, Station Street, Bridge End and Queen’s Bridge.
  • The EWAY route will depart the city centre along Albertbridge Road and Upper Newtownards Road terminating at a park and ride site in Dundonald.
  • The WWAY route will travel from the city centre along Divis Street, Falls Road, Andersonstown Road, Stewartstown Road and will terminate at a park and ride site near McKinstry Road Roundabout.


  • The three routes will feed into and through a one-way city centre loop - from Queen’s Bridge, along Oxford Street, May Street, Howard Street, Fisherwick Place, College Square East, Wellington Place, Chichester Street, Victoria Street, Custom House Square, Donegal Quay and Oxford Street to the Queen Elizabeth Bridge.

Commenting on the announcement the DRD Minister stated that "subject to the success of these initial routes and the future availability of funding, the inherent flexibility of this bus-based system will allow it to be extended to serve north and south Belfast.”

The current Belfast on the Move project is providing
early infrastructure for the BRT. From

The majority of the design and procurement for Belfast Rapid Transit will be delivered through the existing expertise within the Department’s Roads Service. The Outline Business Case identified that a direct award of the contract to operate Belfast Rapid Transit to Translink, subject to clarification on performance and contractual issues, represents the best option available for service procurement. In awarding the contract, the Department must be satisfied that Translink can fully meet the performance and efficiency targets for a directly awarded contract and will be accountable for the patronage and performance of Belfast Rapid Transit.


DRD will now begin the detailed plans for Belfast Rapid Transit and hope to deliver these by the end of 2017. During the next few years the infrastructure necessary for the new system will be delivered. It is estimated that the whole project will cost £98.5m to deliver. DRD has an allocation of £12.5m up to 2015. The remainder will required post 2015 and will potentially come from European sources.


A map of the Belfast Rapid Transit is available at Belfast Rapid Transit Route Plan.

A document outlining the features of Belfast Rapid Transit, the methodology used in the Outline business Case, the findings of the Outline Business Case and the recommendations is available at Belfast Rapid Transit - Highlights of Outline Business Case.

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