Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ottawa: Goodbye BRT

I’ve never been a fan of the name “Bus Rapid Transit”. It gets bandied about to described everything from limited-stop buses to full-on exclusive right-of-way systems. To me BRT means exclusive right-of-way systems, so…

Ottawa is the only region in Canada that currently has a BRT system. It has been toted as THE example of how great BRT is. There is only one little problem, people in Ottawa would rather have light rail.

As reported in the April 4th Ottawa Citizen, thousands of people provided comment on the future transit plan for the Ottawa region, and they overwhelmingly supported replacing BRT and building new LRT.
The consultations also found the public would like the city to think even bigger by running light-rail lines all the way out to the eastern and western suburbs even if it costs more, and that there was some support for extending the current diesel O-Train south to growth areas beyond the airport until a new electric line is built.

The consultations found almost no support for continuing to try to serve the city's transit needs with buses.

During 500 on-street interviews, 79 per cent of people said the city needs a light-rail system, and 71 per cent said it would be better to spend more money up front to lower operating costs in the future, which matches the expected economics of a rail system.

The Options:

This is the option the people in Ottawa want

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