Active Travel Scheme should be inclusive as possible - McAleer
Féin MLA for West Tyrone and member of the Regional Development
Committee, Declan McAleer, has called on the Belfast Active Travel
Scheme to be as inclusive as possible in order to encourage greater
uptake and increase the health benefits.
Speaking today Mr McAleer said:
“I welcome the DRD Ministers
decision to roll out 4 Active Travel Demonstration Projects which are
part of the Active Travel Strategy aimed at encouraging people to adopt a
more healthy option in terms of travel, especially over short
“The demonstration projects are being rolled out in Belfast, Craigavon, Derry and Strabane.
Belfast Public Bike Hire Scheme involves the development of a 3rd
generation bike hire scheme similar to those already in operation in
Dublin and London.
“It will involve the locating of docking stations 350 meters apart
and we heard that it has been a huge success in Dublin with
approximately 1 million users in the first 15 months.
there are concerns as to how to access the service. It is intended to
allow users to access the bicycles by swiping credit or debit cards.
This is a quite restrictive approach and may stop many people,
especially those from lower income brackets, the elderly, or young
people who may not have these cards to use this service.
“For such an imaginative and positive scheme we should be
encouraging as many people to use these bicycles as possible ans should
be exploring innovative ways to do this.
"One example would be
for those wishing to use the bicycles on a regular basis to apply for a
user card in conjunction with a cash payment meter. This would identify
who has hired the bicycle while not restricting the bicycles to those
with credit cards only.
“If we are truly intending to encourage people to have a healthy
lifestyle then we need to make these schemes as open as possible.
conveyed this to the Head of the Active Travel Project and asked for it
to be factored in to discussions with Belfast City Council before a
final system is decided upon.
“I intend to pursue these projects through the DRD committee, the
Minister and with my colleagues in the constituencies involved. These
are excellent projects which have the capacity to provoke a modal shift
towards healthy alternative means of transport. I hope that they are
just the part of a longer term strategy which will be rolled out further
across all of the council areas in the north.”