We have just returned from a holiday in Portugal (Porto) - until recently classified as one of the poorer countries of Europe - and were absolutely astounded at the modernity and efficiency of its public transport system.
We paid 11 euros each for 72 hours travel (approximately £2.50 a day) on any of a choice of modes of transport - buses, metro, railway or trams. The tickets are totally interchangeable.
The metro trains and stations are state of the art. The trains arrive on the minute, are constant and encompass the whole of the urban and rural outskirts of the city.
Buses (which run on gas so therefore no diesel fumes), trains and trams are equally punctual. What absolute luxury!
We arrived back in dreary old Belfast to face the ongoing roadworks and it cost almost the price of 24-hour unlimited travel in Porto for a single journey from Great Victoria Street to Dunmurry on NIR!
Why, oh why, haven't Belfast city fathers had the guts and foresight to initiate the building of an underground metro system here?
If a city such as Porto, which is built on rock, can address the problems of public transport, why can't we?
Kathleen McAnespie, Dunmurry