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Foster takes wrong turn with bus lane proposal

ENTERPRISE Minister Arlene Foster's suggestion to allow motorists in Belfast to use bus lanes at the weekend (News, September 25) is not the way to encourage more people to shop in the city.

Evidence shows that people who take public transport visit city centres more often, stay longer and, therefore, spend more money than those in cars.

Rather than encouraging more cars into our city centres, we need to make the alternatives more attractive.

Allowing more traffic into bus lanes makes journeys by bus slower and, therefore, less attractive.

Many people will choose to switch back to cars, creating more congestion on our roads. More than 40% of Belfast households don't own a car and rely on public transport.

Any vibrant European city has high-quality public transport and Belfast on the Move is a step in the right direction. Metro passenger numbers are rising every year.

But there's a safety argument, too.

Bus lanes act as a safe haven for cyclists, protecting them from speeding cars and taxis that zip in and out of traffic.

To help retailers we need to provide as many people as possible with good alternatives to driving and create vibrant shopping experiences where people want to spend more time and money.

STEVEN PATTERSON

Sustrans deputy director (NI)

Belfast Telegraph

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