Comment 46982

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 01, 2010 at 11:37:35

The reason I like BRT systems is for situations like Curitiba Brazil, where the money for an LRT is not likely to come forward. They run what is essentially a train with busses, because it was easier to set up.

In our context, I think BRT needs to be a tier between LRT and smaller regional bus routes. It makes no sense to wait forty minutes for a dedicated Deleware/Greenhill bus at McMaster when the bus you get on will share a route with 10 or so other east/west busses will pass you during that time, and the actual Greenhill neighbourhood could have been circled six times. Waiting for a bus or train is a very serious psychological barrier, and thanks to Hamilton's infrequent long-distance bus routes, it often means transferring even once results in over an hour of wait time overall (plus walking and riding).

We don't stop building or maintaining side streets because we build a highway, or vice versa. Both are part of a transportation network, and both are appropriate to different situations. We need to see these transit routes like highways - an LRT being the equivalent of a sixteen-lane chunk of Toronto's 401, and a BRT being the equal to, perhaps, Highway 5 or 6. It's much better for moving lots of people a long distance than side streets or local bus routes, but it lags seriously in capacity when compared to a rail system. I agree there's a huge problem here with the games we're playing to get this approved, and how unlikely it is to get and upgrade any time soon. But bad planning won't solve that.

Oh, and having experienced Vancouver's Skytrain, I must say I'm not convinced. It's really neat, but I can't think of many places where it doesn't actually take up much more space on the ground than a dedicated lane of traffic would. Instead, there's huge swaths of land cutting across the city with nothing but weeds and cement pillars. And Vancouver also has a lot of electric-assist buses (with overhead wires), like the UBC line, which are de-facto BRT routes.

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