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Old February 1st, 2008, 06:39 AM   #321
adrimm
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That's where the problem is..

In North America BRT systems have a notorious reputation for having a lack of "permanence" in their construction... and this is directly related to the exclusive use of shelters as "stations" in North America.

A shelter isn't exactly screaming permanent to anyone, and in places that get winter or even heavy rains an open shelter is an insult to rider comfort (LRT or BRT).

Without fixed rail BRT must rely more heavily on fixed features like stations for permanence.

Designers of the most successful BRT systems don't aim to provide basic LRT services albeit with articulated buses, they aim to provide exceptional rail quality service but with articulated busses. That means real proper stations. With all other things equal (artculated buses, multi-door level boarding), the systems that are providing high quality enclosed stations, are consistently succcessful than those without.

Until BRT (heck even LRT designers - no one likes to be stuck out in the wind or weather) designers in North America figure this out they won't be maximizing their potential, and cities will be left with lacklustre systems.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 06:51 AM   #322
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Old February 1st, 2008, 09:43 AM   #323
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tampasteve View Post
But many LRT stations in the US are open air too. I have been on the Charlotte Blue line (perhaps the newest open system) LRT line and stations are all open air, with the exception of one (I believe). Most of their stops might have a roof (at least over the waiting area), but that is the same for good BRT systems. Most of the BRT lines listed above have nice stops that would be very comparable to most LRT stops, the main difference is the curb rather than the rail.

Newark LRT station:

Houston:

Don't get me wrong, I am almost always in favor for LRT over BRT, but the stations on a good BRT route can be comparable to a regular (non-subway) LRT station. Of course though, most BRT lines in the US are really glorified regular bus routes, the kind that almost all bus routes should be, IE, nice buses, regular and reliable times, decent stops/stations, and count down clocks to the next bus.

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That Houston tram is ******* HOT.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 02:44 PM   #324
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrimm View Post
Designers of the most successful BRT systems don't aim to provide basic LRT services albeit with articulated buses, they aim to provide exceptional rail quality service but with articulated busses. That means real proper stations. With all other things equal (artculated buses, multi-door level boarding), the systems that are providing high quality enclosed stations, are consistently succcessful than those without.

Until BRT (heck even LRT designers - no one likes to be stuck out in the wind or weather) designers in North America figure this out they won't be maximizing their potential, and cities will be left with lacklustre systems.
Exactly, but when one starts to build such amenities into bus service in the US the price tag jumps to near LRT levels, when we are talking about separated ROW along with the stations. Perception of bus transit, no matter how it is done, will never be as high or popular as a train - in the US. When planners start to plan a system they have to make things equal and as cheap in up-front price as possible, so open stations win out for LRT and BRT pricing, but rail is always more permanent than bus, in perception anyway. Then they have to see which would pass a likely vote on a transit tax, and LRT wins hands down over a bus route (at least in many/most cases).

Recently I rode the Blue line in Charlotte, there were at least 10 families on the train on a Sunday morning. The conductor asked if there was a family event happening DT, the families replied "no, we just wanted to take the kids on a ride on the train" another group said "I take the train to work and wanted the kids to have the same experience." Those comments would never happen from a new bus route, even a nice BRT one.

Again though, if a BRT system is built properly, even with open stations, I have no problem with them. I would kill for a nice BRT system in Tampa. We are planning two routes now, but they are really just enhanced regular bus service (IE, decent stops, articulated bus, GPS locater with time to arrival, except they are now separated ROW).

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Old February 1st, 2008, 02:45 PM   #325
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That Houston tram is ******* HOT.
Yeah, the new LRT train sets look pretty cool. The Siemens sets they have on the Blue line in Charlotte look very similar, they are great too, very smooth, roomy, sturdy feeling...just awesome!

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Old February 1st, 2008, 04:13 PM   #326
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Quote:
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That Houston tram is ******* HOT.
The Houston tram may look hot but Houston city looks dead - where all the people? Do they all scurry around in those underground passageways that I've read about, never venturing onto surface?
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Old February 1st, 2008, 04:21 PM   #327
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Quote:
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The Houston tram may look hot but Houston city looks dead - where all the people? Do they all scurry around in those underground passageways that I've read about, never venturing onto surface?
I do not know what time that picture was taken (it is not mine) but I have seen other pictures and the stations are VERY crowded, along with the DT area. Time of day, day of the week and location all play very important roles in judging the success of a system by pictures.

The Houston system is only 7.5 miles right now but has an average boarding of 45,000 a day. They did not expect to reach that number until 2020. The Houston system is the most successful LRT line in the USA when adjusting for boardings compared to length of the line.

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Old February 1st, 2008, 11:09 PM   #328
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Exactly, but when one starts to build such amenities into bus service in the US the price tag jumps to near LRT levels, when we are talking about separated ROW along with the stations.

Steve[/QUOTE]
For a regional system with 1 station every mile or km apart, even proper stations (not yet seen in the US), will still cost way less than rails per mile or km, it can be created a heckuva lot faster.... and you forget can still be phase one of a multi-decade LRT plan. Better to buy the ROW sooner than later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tampasteve View Post
Perception of bus transit, no matter how it is done, will never be as high or popular as a train - in the US.
Steve
Having seen how popular the BRT systems with real stations are, I think I am willing to wait and see what happen once/if people in the US actually see real stations before pre-deciding how they might react. I spent my university days riding the local "BRT", and what I experienced abroad felt far closer the local elevated rail line than the so-called BRT we had.

It doesn't have to be a competition, it should be part of an integrated strategy to achieve the highest quality transportation system possible.
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 12:19 AM   #329
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrimm View Post
For a regional system with 1 station every mile or km apart, even proper stations (not yet seen in the US), will still cost way less than rails per mile or km, it can be created a heckuva lot faster.... and you forget can still be phase one of a multi-decade LRT plan. Better to buy the ROW sooner than later.
True, but in the USA stations are generally closer than 1 mile, at least in the core areas. When you start getting into the suburbs the stations tend to be 1 mile or more apart, but that is a whole different animal than a DT or core system, or even what most BRT/LRT lines are. Commuter rail lines have stations further apart like suburban LRT, but BRT is generally designated in core areas where stations are much closer to each other.

Quote:
It doesn't have to be a competition, it should be part of an integrated strategy to achieve the highest quality transportation system possible.
That is a GREAT point. Except, when transit modes and advocates are arguing for transit dollars level headed thoughts like that often get lost in the fray.

Steve
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 12:41 AM   #330
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tampasteve View Post

Newark LRT station:

Steve
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 02:20 AM   #331
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tampasteve View Post
True, but in the USA stations are generally closer than 1 mile, at least in the core areas. When you start getting into the suburbs the stations tend to be 1 mile or more apart, but that is a whole different animal than a DT or core system, or even what most BRT/LRT lines are. Commuter rail lines have stations further apart like suburban LRT, but BRT is generally designated in core areas where stations are much closer to each other.



That is a GREAT point. Except, when transit modes and advocates are arguing for transit dollars level headed thoughts like that often get lost in the fray.

Steve
Ahhhh that's where my perspective is different. The systems I am accustomed to have stops about 1 km apart and are commuter systems for those going from the suburbs into downtowns or clear across town.. and the BRT rows are built on existing roadway (no additional cost involved).

Riders typically transfer for more local service once they arrive at a stop, and btw, I think that trams are infinitely more suitable for local downtown service.

I think that each proper station might cost $1- $1.5 million more per km (roof, turnstiles, glass walls and swank sliding doors). Toss in free parking at the local park'n'ride in the 'burbs.
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 03:19 PM   #332
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Sure, but 1k is only about .62 of a mile, so a system with stations 1k apart has many more stations closer together than a system with stations 1 mile apart....but in the end I think we are saying basically the same thing.

I do believe your costing would be off though. To build propper stations like you mentioned would probobly be more in the $3-$4 million more per mile than just regular stations with a decent shelter. But I am not trying to split hairs, I think that if stations were built like you are saying ridership would be up a lot. It would be great to have a system like that, but it is just not practical with the way that transit gets implemented in the USA, cost is always a HUGE factor, not just ridership predictions, and then everyone that is involved at all knows that in the end the project is almost always over budget anyway. Most people cannot see the benefit of investing now for returns in the near future, but that goes for more things than transit!

.....BTW, are you from the USA, I would guess no since you list lengths in K instead of miles....it does not matter though, a good idea is a good idea, and your is one!

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Old February 2nd, 2008, 04:45 PM   #333
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In many instances, the term Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is used to describe systems that differ little from regular bus service. In some instances, the only differences are nicer shelters at the bus stops and fancy graphics on the buses. The term BRT should be reserved for systems that have the following features to help speed service:

- Off-vehicle fare payment.
- Traffic signal priority.
- Exclusive or restrictive use (car pool or right turn only) transit lanes.
- Headways of fifteen minutes or less.

The concept of BRT had a big boost from the success of the Orange Line in Los Angeles, which has all the features that BRT should have. The following are some images from the LACMTA Orange Line website < http://www.metro.net/projects_progra...nteractive.htm >:













A lot has been written about the relative cost and performance of the BRT Orange Line compared to the nearby light rail Gold Line. The following are some numbers from LACMTA's website < http://www.metro.net/news_info/facts.htm >:

Opening Date
Orange Line BRT: October 29, 2005
Gold Line LRT: July 26, 2003

Route Length
Orange Line BRT: 14 miles
Gold Line LRT: 13.7 miles

Stations
Orange Line BRT: 13
Gold Line LRT: 13

Average Weekday Ridership
Orange Line BRT: 25,618
Gold Line LRT: 19,579

Cost of System
Orange Line BRT: $330 million
Gold Line LRT: $859 million

FY 2008 Operations Budget
Orange Line BRT: $21 million
Gold Line LRT: $42 million

Another measure of the success of the Orange Line is the amount of vituperative that the organization Light Rail Now has directed against it < http://www.lightrailnow.org/facts/fa_brt_2006-10a.htm >. The Light Rail Now pictorial raises some legitimate issues but the claim that the Orange Line is underperforming in terms of ridership is preposterous. The Orange Line outperforms the Gold Line in part because it offers more frequent service. The Orange Line buses must operate more frequently in order to provide capacity similar to the multi-car light rail trains of the Gold Line.

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Old February 2nd, 2008, 09:29 PM   #334
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tampasteve View Post
But I am not trying to split hairs, I think that if stations were built like you are saying ridership would be up a lot. It would be great to have a system like that, but it is just not practical with the way that transit gets implemented in the USA, cost is always a HUGE factor, not just ridership predictions, and then everyone that is involved at all knows that in the end the project is almost always over budget anyway. Most people cannot see the benefit of investing now for returns in the near future, but that goes for more things than transit!

.....BTW, are you from the USA, I would guess no since you list lengths in K instead of miles....it does not matter though, a good idea is a good idea, and your is one!

Steve

Canadian. We speak either metric or imperial, depending on the topic.

-Temperatures and distances tend to be celcius and kms
-Lumber, personal weight & height tend to be in inches, feet and pounds

Last edited by adrimm; February 2nd, 2008 at 09:47 PM.
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 09:47 PM   #335
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Another high quality station

More high quality stations.

- Maybe a little overkill, but again gives strong impressions as to the permanence of the system and great consideration of the riders when weather goes sour.



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Old February 4th, 2008, 03:53 AM   #336
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
In many instances, the term Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is used to describe systems that differ little from regular bus service. In some instances, the only differences are nicer shelters at the bus stops and fancy graphics on the buses. The term BRT should be reserved for systems that have the following features to help speed service:

- Off-vehicle fare payment.
- Traffic signal priority.
- Exclusive or restrictive use (car pool or right turn only) transit lanes.
- Headways of fifteen minutes or less.

The concept of BRT had a big boost from the success of the Orange Line in Los Angeles, which has all the features that BRT should have. The following are some images from the LACMTA Orange Line website < http://www.metro.net/projects_progra...nteractive.htm >:
A lot has been written about the relative cost and performance of the BRT Orange Line compared to the nearby light rail Gold Line. The following are some numbers from LACMTA's website < http://www.metro.net/news_info/facts.htm >:

Opening Date
Orange Line BRT: October 29, 2005
Gold Line LRT: July 26, 2003

Route Length
Orange Line BRT: 14 miles
Gold Line LRT: 13.7 miles

Stations
Orange Line BRT: 13
Gold Line LRT: 13

Average Weekday Ridership
Orange Line BRT: 25,618
Gold Line LRT: 19,579

Cost of System
Orange Line BRT: $330 million
Gold Line LRT: $859 million

FY 2008 Operations Budget
Orange Line BRT: $21 million
Gold Line LRT: $42 million

Another measure of the success of the Orange Line is the amount of vituperative that the organization Light Rail Now has directed against it

The Orange Line outperforms the Gold Line in part because it offers more frequent service. The Orange Line buses must operate more frequently in order to provide capacity similar to the multi-car light rail trains of the Gold Line.





Great info Greg_Christine.. I think that the point about the frequency is especially important.

I'm also really hoping that eventually some of the north American BRT projects will take from hints from abroad and start providing enclosed stations. They really make a difference in the rider experience, especially on these cool, wet or snowy days of winter.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 06:27 AM   #337
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Wow that's interesting.... Vancouver's B-Line system is no where as "luxurious" nor does it have the Orange Line's features such as off-vehicle fare payment. And our B-Lines don't even have traffic priority systems (except for the 98 B-Line which doesn't work anymore), but we have much higher ridership:

98 B-Line: 40 000 passengers/day
99 B-Line: 60 000 passengers/day

We need Orange BRT style in our B-Line system NOW!
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Old February 4th, 2008, 08:44 AM   #338
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98 B-Line: 40 000 passengers/day
99 B-Line: 60 000 passengers/day

We need Orange BRT style in our B-Line system NOW!
Deasine, as far as I am concerned the B-Line is *not* BRT, that's how lacking it is. As a former UBC student I am disgusted that Translink and BC Transit even dare to call an express bus a BRT becuase it sometimes has it's own lane. Little wonder people are sour on the idea.

There are BRT systems that provide 100,000 trips a day in cities of 500,000 and they have *stations*, where you don't get wet, or windswept, and where you go through a turnstile entering the station to pay.

British Columbians needs a full BRT system, *beyond* the Orangeline, one like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA4IR7PvO6I

Something that can provide frequent, comfortable service with a touch of wow, and that in the future can be transferable to rail upgrades.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 12:57 AM   #339
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it is interesting, and worthwhile, to note that the Orange line came about as BRT rather than rail because people were trying to make it a subway extension rather than LRT.....so they got BRT as there was some rule made (I cannot remember the details) that said they could not build above ground rail transit in the cooridore....


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Old February 5th, 2008, 03:25 AM   #340
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Quote:
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Deasine, as far as I am concerned the B-Line is *not* BRT, that's how lacking it is. As a former UBC student I am disgusted that Translink and BC Transit even dare to call an express bus a BRT becuase it sometimes has it's own lane. Little wonder people are sour on the idea.

There are BRT systems that provide 100,000 trips a day in cities of 500,000 and they have *stations*, where you don't get wet, or windswept, and where you go through a turnstile entering the station to pay.

British Columbians needs a full BRT system, *beyond* the Orangeline, one like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA4IR7PvO6I

Something that can provide frequent, comfortable service with a touch of wow, and that in the future can be transferable to rail upgrades.
It's a BRT system in Vancouver (ahem I should say TransLink). I would say B-Lines are more like a nice long express bus.

The province does have plans for RapidBus for many cities including Vancouver, Victoria, and Kelowna, which supposedly include "bus stations." But that's still not very clear - more of plan up in the air...

But I agree with you... our BRT is not BRT internationally.
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