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Travel Tips 1
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Northern Ireland 

Transport

Roads and Driving

Traffic drives on the left. 
The speed limit is:
30mph - in cities and towns
60mph - on country roads and two-lane highways

 
70 mph - on motorways
unless otherwise marked. 

Seat belts must be worn at all times and driving licences should be in the driver’s possession when driving.

Northern Ireland is not a very big area, however if you move from the main roads to the smaller roads, the roads will not be in as good as condition as the main thoroughfares.  You should also be aware that teenage locals also like to “play tricks” on tourists and they change the direction of road signs that were pointing to areas of interest to locals.  Always try to have a good map with you or better off bring a satellite navigation system with you so that you do not have to rely wholly on the road signs. 

Car Hire
Car hire is available at all major airports and within the major cities.  Click HERE for more details. 
 
Documentation
European nationals and North Americans can drive on their home license for a period up to a year.  After that, they must get either a Northern Irish or UK license.  Driving licences should be carried at all times while driving.
 
Coach/Bus
Major cities are linked by an national coach system, run by Translink whose timetable can be found at their website www.translink.co.ukTranslink offers services from Belfast to most main destinations in Northern Ireland at least daily if not multiple times per day from their main bus depot behind the Europa Hotel.  Services to Dublin are also done multiple times a day from the Europa bus depot.  You can buy tickets at the bus depot or directly from the bus driver from other locations. 
 
If you are flying into the Dublin airport, you can always catch the Aircoach from the Dublin airport directly to Belfast.  The Aircoach picks up hourly from the Dublin airport also making stops in Hillsborough, Banbridge, Newry, Dundalk and Drogheda.  The cost is quite reasonable starting from £12 single for an adult. 

Local Bus Services
In Belfast, the local bus service is the Metro which is a pink and white bus.  This service has routes all over the city and a pickup point will only be a short walk from the Europa bus centre. 
 
Taxis 
Meter-operated taxis can be found in all major cities and towns.  Depending on the taxi firm, you may have to call the taxi as some firms are not allowed to pick up directly from the street.  In Belfast, Black Taxis can pick up from taxi ranks.  Other taxi companies must be called first for a pickup, however taxi telephone call stations are scattered around Belfast.  Black taxis in the past have had a bad reputation as they would try to “double fare” tourist pickups.  For example, at the train station, if a couple approached a Black Taxi  for a ride, the cab driver would put them in the cab and then go looking for a second fare going in the same direction!  The driver would then charge both fares the full price as a meter would not necessarily be used.  This is not supposed to happen anymore however if you find yourself in this situation, do not be afraid of leaving the taxi and finding another firm to take you.  If you are at the train station in Belfast, go back inside the train station and ask security how to contact another firm.  Other taxi firms in Belfast include A taxi firm in Belfast that we would typically use are Value Cabs which advertise themselves as Belfast’s number 1 taxi firm with over 600 uniformed drivers. 
 
When you are finally in the taxi, there is a minimum “starting charge” and then a charge for the distance travelled and time taken. Taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped. A small additional payment may be required for luggage and telephone bookings.  Taxi drivers are a wealth of information so ask them their thoughts on what to see and where to eat in the local area. 
 
Another option to a taxi is a hackney.  Again, they must be booked by telephone but the hackney charges according to distance driven and not according to time.  Hackneys tend to be cheaper for longer journeys. 

 


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