Northern Ireland

New 'park and ride' for south Belfast

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Image caption There are a number of other park and rides in the city

The construction of a new park and ride site in south Belfast is nearing completion.

Work began on the 730-vehicle site in November 2009 and is due to be completed in June.

However, the site will not become operational until the autumn.

A Department for Regional Development spokesperson said the procurement of the bus services and further bus priority measures needed to be finalised first.

The new park and ride, which will be the largest in the area, is situated on the A24 at Cairnshill.

On Thursday, South Belfast Alliance MLA Anna Lo said that "this service will hopefully help get more people to take the bus into Belfast and ease congestion on our roads".

"I would like to see this facility being used as soon after completion as possible and I would call on the department to do all they can to ensure this happens."

There are a number of other park and rides in the city. The first was Northside which opened in 1995.

Since then, three other sites have been built: Blacks Road, Eastside and Ravenscroft.

Other sites situated outside Belfast include Sprucefield and Dunsilly.

The spokesperson said the schemes had been "well-used".

"Northside and Eastside currently operate at capacity and Sprucefield and Blacks Road operate at approximately 90% of capacity," she said.

Translink have also introduced numberous park and ride facilities along their commuter routes.

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