Belfast is planning a new rapid transit system that will not only handle tourists to the Titanic Quarter but the needs of the city as well.
One item on the table is bringing back the bendy-bus. Called an articulated bus in the U.S., it is essentially two buses put together with a flexible middle. This allows it to make turns and get around road hazards more easily. They are tricky to run and London phased them out some years ago due to accidents and general dislike of them. Other cities did it as well in the U.K. and Northern Ireland. They were replaced with conventional and double-decker buses.
With Belfast wanting to have high speed buses arriving every five minutes, the bendy-buses are getting a second look. I have taken such buses in San Francisco. They are used on high density lines (the 30-Stockton) where you need such buses to handle the large numbers of people. On that route, the buses are electric so no worry about diesel fumes wafting around. And that line has to weave its way through Chinatown (where the majority of its passengers are heading for or leaving) where traffic is usually heavy during the day.
Buses, whether they are conventional or electric, are a more flexible alternative than light rail. Light rail is very expensive and limits their use to where the rails are laid. When the tourists arrive in 2012, they will need a system that is easy and convenient to use. Perhaps the bendy-bus will be part of it.
Belfast Telegraph, The Possible Reintroduction Of New ‘Bendy-Buses’ Could Be Part Of The Plans For A £150M Rapid Transit System For Belfast, 13 October 2011