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  • Belfast Between The Wars


Belfast Telegraph, Thursday 18th June 1936

The continued progress of the Belfast municipal transport system is illustrated by the report of the general manager, submitted to the Tramways Committee of the Corporation on Wednesday. The traffic revenue from the tramcars during the year came to over £594,000, being an increase of £20,000 compared with the previous year. The revenue from the omnibuses exceeded £103,000, an increase of £14,000 over last year. The number of passengers carried on the tramcars was nearly 116,500,000, an increase of 4,513,117 over the year, constituting a record. There were almost 13,000,000 passengers carried on the buses, an increase for the year of more than 1,500,000. The omnibus service has proved its utility as an auxiliary to the tramcars and has also supplied an urgent want on routes, like the Cavehill Road, where a great extension of housing schemes is in process. It may be safely predicted that on this and other suburban districts bus services will be extended considerably before long to meet the needs of the growing population and link up the suburbs on the outskirts of the city boundary. Omnibus services are also being made use of to enable tramway tracks which have become worn out to be abandoned on sections of the Mountpottinger Road and Cregagh Road. It is wise policy to proceed with due deliberation in the replacing of vehicles now in use by others as required. New types of construction are being adopted from time to time in other cities, and it is only by actual trial that the qualities of these vehicles can be ascertained. It would no doubt be folly to go to the expense of relaying many miles of tramway track if other kinds of cars or buses can be substituted advantageously for those in use.

In some of the districts of Belfast which have been more recently opened up for building, like the Castlereagh Road, the possibilities of expansion of the city are very great. This implies the need to largely increased facilities for the transport of those who live in these areas. Sometimes a combination of events leads to a quickening of the process of urban growth. Thus, for example, on the Antrim Road the building on the Shaftesbury estate, the attractions of the Bellevue Zoological Gardens and of Hazelwood, and the growth of population in the Glengormley district have all tended to increase the demand on the services which the tramcars and omnibuses supply. When the Belfast corporation was seeking to obtain powers for linking up the old Cavehill and Whitewell tramway route with the line which then ended at the Chichester Park terminus on the Antrim Road, some prominent citizens had doubts of the advisability of the proposed step, but the huge volume of passenger traffic now carried on this route has showed the wisdom of the decision. The possibilities of extension presented in other districts are also most striking. Since the city tramcar service was taken over by the Corporation in 1904 a steady advance has been made all round. Under the able management of Major McCreary the rate of progress has been increased and this department of municipal activities is one of several which Belfast need not fear comparison with other cities across the Channel. The extension of lower fares for workmen from 8.30am to 8.45am has been largely availed of, as also the special privileges accorded to children. The transport facilities provided in Belfast today are such as were scarcely imagined by the older generation of citizens, but we have grown to accept them as part and parcel of our daily lives. Nevertheless a tribute of praise is due both to those who were responsible in the past for founding the system and those who have guided its successful operation in recent days.


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