Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has confirmed a Christmas embargo on roadworks and a transport incentives package, to encourage Christmas shopping in Belfast City Centre.
The roadworks embargo for all non essential work on key routes will run from 28 November to 3 January 2017.
Minister Hazzard said:
“As towns and cities across the north prepare for the busy Christmas period, I am keen to do what I can to support local businesses and provide shoppers with a range of public transport options that meet their needs, while keeping the traffic moving.
“The roadworks embargo has been ongoing for number of years and I am grateful to all the utilities involved for their continued support with this highly successful initiative.”
Commenting on joint transport incentives package between the Department for Infrastructure, Translink and Belfast City Council, Minister Hazzard said:
“It is vital that traffic flow around the City is maintained during rush hour and the Christmas shopping period. Our public transport network plays a key part in ensuring disruption is kept to a minimum. The recent changes in the exchange rate means we also have more people coming North to shop and we need to be mindful of the impact that can have on our roads network.
“Jointly, my department, Translink and Belfast City Council, have developed a range of transport incentives to manage traffic flow, including extending park and ride opening hours, reduced fares and the works embargo. I also would like to welcome the Council’s decision to maintain car parking charges at the current level and I believe combined, all of these measures will help ensure smoother traffic flow around the city and a better experience for traders and shoppers alike.
“This is a real example of an integrated approach which will help to improve journey times and increase the use of public transport. This is a key outcome in the draft Programme for Government and is good news for our environment and economy and will deliver real benefits for all.”
Belfast Lord Mayor, Alderman Brian Kingston, said: “Belfast is looking forward to welcoming everyone, shoppers and visitors to enjoy the festive atmosphere and wide range of offers available throughout the city.
“It is vital that the expected crowds are able to navigate the city freely and easily which is why we are working with our partners to ensure a good choice of transport options for everyone in Belfast during this period. Our city has so much offer and we want to make all those attractions as accessible as possible.”
Translink Group Chief Executive Chris Conway said; “We’ve put together an attractive festive package of hassle-free bus, coach and train services, great value tickets and fun entertainment to make Translink your first choice for travel this Christmas. From free returns on Ulsterbus and Goldline services to all-day Metro travel for just £2.50, extended Park & Ride opening hours or a third-off day return train tickets, we want to encourage more people to enjoy the convenience of public transport whether it’s for shopping, socialising or just soaking up the special atmosphere at this busy time of year.”
Geraldine Duggan, Belfast City Centre Management Company, also welcomed the Department’s decision to impose an embargo in the run up to Christmas. She said; “Shoppers and traders in Belfast will greatly benefit from this initiative. The city centre has so much to offer with its diverse retail and hospitality offer, world class public realm and public art, as well as spectacular Christmas lighting and a host of Christmas events for all the family.”
Notes to editors:
- Transport incentives include:
- Metro £2.50 day ticket after 9.30 am network wide.
- £2.50 day return travel at main park & ride sites - Black’s Road, Cairnshill, Dundonald, Sprucefield and Ballymartin (Available 1 – 31 December).
- Ulsterbus and Goldline day return tickets for the price of a single every day after 9.30 am network wide (Available 1 November – 31 December).
- Translink a third off all NI Railways day return tickets after 9.30 am network wide.
- A £2 PlusBus ticket for unlimited Metro travel in Belfast (available for rail passengers).
- A Sunday Day Tracker ticket for just £7 providing unlimited train travel network wide.
- Family and Friends ticket providing unlimited travel for up to 2 adults and 4 children on bus and rail services NI wide (£15 ) or Metro network only (£7) (Available December 17 – January 2) .
- Extended Park and Ride opening hours and extra Saturday services during December (Black’s Road, Cairnshill, Dundonald and Ballymartin services) .
- DfI propose over the period:
- Cessation of all non emergency road works
- Extension of traffic control centre hours of operation
- All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007 or email: email@example.com. Out of hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.
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