Belfast transport hub edges closer
A London based team of designers has been asked to draw up plans for a new bus and train station on the 20 acre site of the existing Europa Bus centre and Great Victoria Street Train Station.
Already around seven million passengers use these facilities each year. This is estimated to increase to around 13 million passengers by 2030 as an increasing number of people choose to use public transport.
The new design team and architects - Arup, Lead Architect Hiro Aso and John McAslan and Partners - have an extensive portfolio in the development and delivery of modern and highly efficient transports infrastructure facilities including Kings Cross Station in London.
Transport Minister Danny Kennedy said: "This is one of the most exciting and ambitious public transport developments to be seen in Northern Ireland
"With a steady year-on-year increase in the number of people choosing to use bus and train it is vital that we grow our already excellent public transport infrastructure to meet the increase in demands that we know are ahead of us," he added.
"As well as the improved transport links, this project also offers huge benefits for Belfast and Northern Ireland as a whole. The enhanced transport hub has the potential to become a 'green urban gateway' revitalising Belfast city centre.
"Indeed it was recently cited in the Urban Strategies Report commissioned and published by Belfast City Council as one of the top projects needed to deliver the overall vision of Belfast as a modern European City helping to attract tourism and investors which will significantly boost the region's economy."
He said that the hub has the "very clear potential to strengthen the heart of Belfast." "This will bring with it employment for the construction sector, business for local retailers and jobs in the service sectors - this is also good news for the neighbouring communities, particularly those in the adjoining Sandy Row and the Lower Falls areas."