Proposed rapid transit routes named
Three preferred rapid transit routes for Belfast have been unveiled.
The east, west and Titanic Quarter will be linked with the city centre via dedicated bus lanes with streamlined ticketing services under the proposals.
Plans to turn a seven-mile pedestrian route through east Belfast, the Comber Greenway, into a busway have been dropped.
Regional development minister Danny Kennedy said: "Belfast Rapid Transit will help to transform that transport system, providing quick and efficient access into and across the city and helping to regenerate and open up new development opportunities along its routes.
"It will play a key role in supporting local economies, linking businesses with markets and linking communities and people with jobs."
The public consultation will last until January.
Department for Regional Development official Ciaran de Burca, director of the rapid transit division, said there would be a 15-20% reduction in car capacity on main routes but added part of the aim is to encourage motorists out of their vehicles and on to public transport.
"We are offering the people an alternative, an enhanced public transport system and park and rides," he said.
There would be relocation of some on-street parking, with the emphasis on short-term spots which would be rigorously policed. There would be modification to some junctions plus road-widening and the intention would be to integrate rapid transit with other forms of public transport.
There will be a connecting hub around the City Hall where passengers can change between services, while the buses will have easy access and use the latest engine technologies with low noise and emission levels.