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Some thoughts on Bus Rapid Transit

It's been a few weeks since the Albuquerque metropolitan transportation governing body announced the study for implementing Bus Rapid Transit along an intensely busy stretch of road on the north side of Albuquerque and its suburbs.

The idea of BRT is very intriguing and has lots of positives. It has its negative points, too.

I've been trying to learn more about BRT since that meeting and so far my conclusion is:
Bus Rapid Transit, though adding more expense over the long run, is a good way to pave the way for Light Rail transportation. The right-of-ways created for BRT can have tracks added later for LRT. I can't think of any other reason why BRT would be picked initially over LRT than the initial start-up cost.

The ABQ metro transit group believes it would cost about $3-$5 million dollars to create BRT, creating the guideways, purchasing the buses and/or retrofitting existing buses. They project start-up costs to be near $60-$100 million (I'm not positive on this amount, though LRT is far more expensive startup costs than BRT startup). 

Some problems with BRT over the long-term:
• Buses break down more frequently than light rail trains, thus increasing the cost. Though maintaining BRT and its guideways costs about the same as maintaining a regular stretch of highway.

• BRT is much slower than LRT. ABQ's transit group noted BRT could reach up to 62 miles per hour.

• BRT has difficulty pulling its weight at steeper grades than LRT.

There may be more negatives, but these are the ones I can thing of right now. I'm still learning about BRT and LRT.



Creating BRT first to transition to LRT is speculation on my part, yet I've discovered others believe this theory, too. I'm guessing BRT would be used for about BRT, before bringing in LRT.

Though you're looking at a higher cost in the long run, probably, with the cost if the short-term buses than purchasing the long-term trains. Might as well eliminate the bus vehicle cost and go straight for the trains.

However, as I said above, I'm guessing the ABQ metro transit group is willing to spend the extra money for the buses initially, because the masses don't see the long-term price difference.

In the end, I guess it's better to spend less in stages, than freak out citizens with a really high initial sticker shock.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Mar. 14th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
check out nbrti.org
You can find brt at the national bus rapid transit institute for more pro' and cons
lost_tumbleweed
Mar. 15th, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC)
Re: check out nbrti.org
Thank you, Anonymous, for the BRT website link.

Yesterday, I read some interesting comparisons between BRT/regular buses and LRT in Weyrich and Lind's book, Moving Minds.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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