Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I’ve been hearing wind lately that the South of Fraser area may be getting bus rapid transit instead of light rail transit (which we think should be on the interurban corridor.) While this is better then no quality transit, bus rapid transit is a bit of a misnomer: it should really be called quality bus service.

A quality bus service has the ability to attract new riders, but it pales in comparison to new LRT systems. There are many surveys like this one that show people who would not take a bus, would take a train. In Tacoma, they built a pilot light rail system in that city’s core. Within weeks, they exceeded their 2010 ridership projections. Quality bus service fits somewhere between local bus service and LRT. You can see this in our region: both the Richmond B-Line and Tri-Cities B-Line are/supposed to be turned into rail. Light rail can handle more passengers comfortably at closer headways (time between trains.) Light rail also doesn’t suffer from the phenomenon of bunching. You can see this on all the B-Line routes in Metro Vancouver. A bus is supposed to come every 10 minutes, but you’ll get two within 2 minutes of each other. You then have to wait 20 minutes for the next bus. I guess the moral of this post is don’t let anyone fool you into believing quality bus service is a cheap replacement for light rail. Light rail is tried and proven successful in cities throughout the world. The South of Fraser deserves light rail and quality bus.

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