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Minister visits Netherlands to study rapid transit systems

20 February, 2008

Sinn Féin Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy MP MLA leaves today for a visit to the Netherlands to study a variety of rapid transit systems.

Outlining the objectives of the visit, Mr Murphy said:

"I want the best rapid transit system for Belfast, one which will meet Belfast's current and future needs and encourage motorists out of their cars and onto public transport.

"I have received a specialist report setting out options for rapid transit in Belfast. It covers both the routes and the technologies that could be used, including light rail and bus-based rapid transit options. To allow me to make an informed decision, it is important to see good examples of these different options in use in other European cities and that is why I am looking forward to seeing how they do it in Holland."

During his visit the Minister will see bus based and light rail rapid transit systems operating in Amsterdam, a bus-based system in Utrecht which uses innovative bi-articulated buses, and in Eindhoven, the Phileas bus rapid transit vehicle system. He will also visit the production facilities for Phileas, which are near Eindhoven.

Before catching his flight to Amsterdam, Mr Murphy met Belfast International Airport and Aer Lingus representatives to receive a presentation on Aer Lingus future plans for development at the airport.

He said:

"Aer Lingus is a very important addition to the development of the International Airport and I am impressed with their plans for the future."

Notes to Editors:

The specialist report (a strategic outline case) has been prepared on rapid transit in the Belfast Metropolitan Area. It examines the feasibility of a number of routes and technology options for rapid transit in the area.

The Minister will also pay a courtesy visit to Belfast International Airport to meet with Aer Lingus representatives. He will receive a presentation from Aer Lingus on the airlines plans for the future at the airport.

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