Belfast Rapid Transport (BRT)
Last year the Minister for Regional Development announced that Translink is to operate the planned rapid transit system for Belfast which will help to address current and future transport needs. We have been working with the DRD to ensure this significant investment in passenger transport for Belfast is effectively delivered, that it integrates with existing Translink services and adds to the overall transport offering for passengers.
Work to date has focused on operational planning, vehicle specification, planning for engineering facilities and integration of ticketing and customer information.
Phase One of the project, known as Belfast Rapid Transit (BRT), will provide a high quality passenger experience and faster, reliable services connecting East Belfast, West Belfast and Titanic Quarter via Belfast city centre. The anticipated date of introduction of the service is August 2018.
The initial network for Phase One will have a total length of approximately 22km, comprising three interconnecting routes, two of which will be approximately 9km each in length and the other approximately 4km. It is intended that cross route services will operate and therefore operational distances for vehicles from start to end of routes could range from 4km to approximately 18km. Vehicles will be scheduled to operate approximately 18 hours per day at a frequency ranging from 5 - 8 minutes on a 7 day week cycle.
Translink are currently procuring manufacturers of appropriate 18 metre single-deck, single articulated, diesel-electric hybrid vehicles for the design, manufacture, delivery, commissioning and subsequent provision of aftermarket support for vehicle operations in Belfast. The vehicles will facilitate rapid boarding and alighting through three double doors and have a passenger capacity in the region of 100 persons, with a significant proportion seated. They will be fully compliant with UK and Northern Ireland Public Service Vehicle Regulations. The vehicles will present a modern, stylish external appearance and be finished and equipped to a high standard. Ticketing will be off-board and there will be no routine interaction between the driver and the passenger.
It is anticipated that Phase One will involve an operating fleet of between 35 – 40 vehicles with the option of between 35 – 40 further vehicles for Phase Two in a potential 3 – 5 year timeframe beyond 2018.
The BRT vehicles will be 18m articulated buses with a capacity of around 100 people. These articulated vehicles provide a greater capacity than that provided by current double deck buses. Articulated buses are widely accepted as the vehicle of choice for bus-based rapid transit systems worldwide.
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