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Old April 16th, 2007, 08:08 AM   #21
adrimm
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Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
I'd like to make a few comments regarding proximity cards:

1. The Washington Metro is presently transitioning from the use of magnetic strip cards for fare payment to proximity cards. I recently purchased my first proximity card at a Metro station because the parking garages now require the proximity cards for payment. My understanding is that the Washington bus system will use the same proximity cards. I believe this is the first time that the Metro and the buses will have a common fare payment system.

2. I purchased my Washington Metro proximity card using cash. It is not linked to a credit card or bank account. It does not contain any personal identification information.

3. The proximity cards only have to be held within about an inch of the sensor in order to deduct the fare. It is not even necessary to take them out of your wallet as you can just waive your wallet past the sensor. There should be no doubt that this is quicker than taking change out of your wallet to pay a transit fare. The proximity cards are even faster to use than the magnetic strip cards that previously were the only fare payment system used on the Washington Metro.

That's very cool - I like that it is short range and is something that you can buy - like a phone calling card.

I also think that the common fare paytment is essential in any city - All modes of public transit should be on the same payment system/validation system.

Last edited by adrimm; April 16th, 2007 at 08:10 AM. Reason: clarification.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 08:21 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Electrify View Post
Kind of interesting, cause in the Toronto area we have both. The TTC runs the second one you mentioned along corridors where they plan on building future subway lines, while York Region runs the first (though neither have their own lane ways). YRT's service is MUCH better than the TTC's. Having to make all the passengers pay on the bus really does slow down the service. In fact, it probably isn't fair to refer to TTC Rocket routes as "BRT" and more just express buses, since their stops nor the buses themselves are no different than any other TTC route.

However, off-bus payment can have its disadvantages as well. Many times passengers are too technically illiterate to figure out how to use the fare machines (you'd be surprised how many people can't seem to read the sign saying "Please press screen to start"), and if you aren't using tickets or passes then you can miss your bus while the fare machine is printing your fare receipt (required in case an inspector wants to make sure you have paid). Also, here in York Region we currently put our tickets inside a "ticket validator" which prints off the time you paid your fare. Unfortunately these machines regularly have problems and sometimes do not print the time at all, and a noob to BRT may not realize you have to validate your ticket. Granted these ticket issues could be resolved if they switched to a card system that is shown above.

Despite its flaws, off bus payment is still the way to go.
Ahh, interesting both systems used in the same city. My hometown is considering the rapid bus/BRT model as possible step (in some decades) to an LRT - But I like the subway idea way better tho - may as well dream big .
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Old April 17th, 2007, 12:22 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by adrimm View Post
I'm assuming you mean cost advantage over something like an LRT? My understanding is that once you get into LRT-land, the cars and track are momentously expensive, stations are only a part of the expense equation, and as Electrify points out they don't need to be secure.

In North America it seems that getting many people to use mass-transit (and lower their emmisions, help clear congestion) is basically a competition between how the benefits and costs of SOV with the benefits and costs of mass-transit, as they borne by individual users (time, cost, ease of use). BRT. It's not like most people don't have cars (in Canada and the US).

What about the benefits of a system that attracts more riders and gets better use - the same system that contributes to clearing the air and reducing congestion? At what point does a little more expendiure on capital infrastructure (still not to the point of LRT) become warranted becasue it makes using the system that much more attractive to riders?

IMHO, The faster you can make it work (between loading times, triggered lights, attactive stations), the more attractive it will be to someone who might just as easily hop in their vehicle.
The problem is, no BRT system in the US has ever really shown to be any more attractive than a regular bus system. And as you pointed out, the faster you make it work, the more attractive it is. But here, most people unless you are deep within a city use the bus system regularly enough that a car system will be attractive to a vast majority of the passengers. Instead, people are going to end up having to purchase a card every time they ride, and they consider that part of their trip time. It actually slows down the perceived speed.

In the US, any mass transit system is already starting at a disadvantage in most places. You can't expect people to go to a further inconvenience to start using it. While I understand how nice it would be to have all these extra features, you have to start off simple in order to get up and running. Perhaps this is why I have such an issue with BRT. The real advantages come from complex technology, which in the end usually ends up making other things worse down the line, either from inconvenience to the passengers or to the non-using public. And if you can't win over that non-using public, you are never even going to get yourself built.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 08:21 AM   #24
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So why limit yourself to the US? There are cities in the world where BRT is taking on a far larger proportion of bus passengers than anticipated, to the point where regular bus routes have been cut far more severely than expected due to the lower ridership. What elements make that happen? Why not try to replicate that?

I'm not clear on your third sentence... "people using the bus regularly enough that a car is attractive to the majority"...Can you clarify?

In terms of advantages and disadvantages, I think the Canadian situation might be a little different, car-commuting is more expensive (due to higher gasoline prices), we're already a bit more predisposed to use other modes (transit, cycling) just for cost-saving. But I'm not clear how something like a BRT would be a further inconvenience beyond regular transit.. imho it would be an improvement to regular transit, make transit use more convenient (perhaps I'm mis-reading you?).

I'm not at all convinced that people purchaseing a ticket, validating a ticket, or swiping a pass on farebox while waiting for the bus to arrive would consider it a slow-down especially if it lets them board it in a few seconds (vs everyone queuing to get on one door and pay at one farebox on the bus, while granny sorts through her change or gets her walker on the bus.).. I also get that cost plays in, but fare-paid all-door boarding seems like a pretty petty cost increase for the results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
The problem is, no BRT system in the US has ever really shown to be any more attractive than a regular bus system. And as you pointed out, the faster you make it work, the more attractive it is. But here, most people unless you are deep within a city use the bus system regularly enough that a car system will be attractive to a vast majority of the passengers. Instead, people are going to end up having to purchase a card every time they ride, and they consider that part of their trip time. It actually slows down the perceived speed.

In the US, any mass transit system is already starting at a disadvantage in most places. You can't expect people to go to a further inconvenience to start using it. While I understand how nice it would be to have all these extra features, you have to start off simple in order to get up and running. Perhaps this is why I have such an issue with BRT. The real advantages come from complex technology, which in the end usually ends up making other things worse down the line, either from inconvenience to the passengers or to the non-using public. And if you can't win over that non-using public, you are never even going to get yourself built.

Last edited by adrimm; April 18th, 2007 at 08:30 AM.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 10:22 PM   #25
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Sorry. That sentence shoud read "But here, most people, unless you are deep within a city, don't use the bus system regularly enough that a card system will be attractive to a vast majority of the passengers.". Sorry, I must have been one something when I was typing that.

But getting back to your point, first most measurements of the "success" of BRT are measured against regular bus service, not against other transit modes. But in many cases BRT are not meant to upgrade existing busses, but as an alternative to light rail. And that's where the inconvenience comes in - you are still running road vehicles. They get stuck in traffic if they run normally, and they interrupt traffic if they get prioritization. Compared to a regular bus, there is more need for overhead wires and bus stations and such, but they don't draw in anywhere near the number of riders (again, in the US) that light rail would. You still have to deal with drivers and accidents.

Another thing that you are assuming is that you are going to have a hoarde of people boarding just once, who all know what they are doing and are all prepared. In many systems, you only have one or two people boarding at a time - it's only the larger stations that you have that many people getting on. And in those cases you usually are justified in making the step up to light rail. You are also assuming that everyone is going to know exactly what they are supposed to do getting the ticket - not start to climb on board, discover you need to get a ticket at the station, and then have to fight your way back out though the line of people waiting to get on. Not every person uses public transit every day. And honestly it shouldn't just focus on those people to begin with.

Theoretically, yes it makes sense. But people live in teh real world, and if the solution doesn't work in the real world, then it simply won't get used.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 10:51 PM   #26
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Sorry. That sentence shoud read "But here, most people, unless you are deep within a city, don't use the bus system regularly enough that a card system will be attractive to a vast majority of the passengers.". Sorry, I must have been one something when I was typing that.

But getting back to your point, first most measurements of the "success" of BRT are measured against regular bus service, not against other transit modes. But in many cases BRT are not meant to upgrade existing busses, but as an alternative to light rail. And that's where the inconvenience comes in - you are still running road vehicles. They get stuck in traffic if they run normally, and they interrupt traffic if they get prioritization. Compared to a regular bus, there is more need for overhead wires and bus stations and such, but they don't draw in anywhere near the number of riders (again, in the US) that light rail would. You still have to deal with drivers and accidents.

All forms of rapid transit have their pros and cons. It just depends on the situation and urban landscape to figure out which one is best.

Another thing that you are assuming is that you are going to have a hoarde of people boarding just once, who all know what they are doing and are all prepared. In many systems, you only have one or two people boarding at a time - it's only the larger stations that you have that many people getting on. And in those cases you usually are justified in making the step up to light rail. You are also assuming that everyone is going to know exactly what they are supposed to do getting the ticket - not start to climb on board, discover you need to get a ticket at the station, and then have to fight your way back out though the line of people waiting to get on. Not every person uses public transit every day. And honestly it shouldn't just focus on those people to begin with.

Theoretically, yes it makes sense. But people live in teh real world, and if the solution doesn't work in the real world, then it simply won't get used.
I've seen numbers that show BRT service approaching that of LRT. Also "real" BRT does not suffer from those examples you mentioned. It runs in its own dedicated busway barriered off from traffic, and LRT would get traffic priorities as well. And just LRT, BRT can have its own dedicated corridors with no traffic whatsoever to deal with (ie: LA's Orange route). I think when people realize how fast BRT can be in more developed areas when done correctly, the image that "buses are for poor people" will drift away.

As for your ticket purchase point, I know what you are talking about. I once overheard a story of a girl when asked to show her fare, showed her ticket book not realizing she had to validate, and of course received a $130 fine (great way to treat new customers, eh?). But what is stopping a similar scenario from happening at an at grade LRT stop??? Also in Curitiba, their BRT has full stations which you cannot access unless you pay your fare (and the same strategy could be used on LRT as well).

Last edited by Electrify; April 18th, 2007 at 10:57 PM.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 11:47 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Electrify View Post
I've seen numbers that show BRT service approaching that of LRT. Also "real" BRT does not suffer from those examples you mentioned. It runs in its own dedicated busway barriered off from traffic, and LRT would get traffic priorities as well. And just LRT, BRT can have its own dedicated corridors with no traffic whatsoever to deal with (ie: LA's Orange route). I think when people realize how fast BRT can be in more developed areas when done correctly, the image that "buses are for poor people" will drift away.
I would be very interested to hear what cities have "real" BRT. In my experience BRT is a way to save money, while not providing LRT levels of service. I'm yet to see BRT run as fast as light Rail can. Having ridden on several guided bus systems i'm yet to see how they are *any* faster. In fact, I would go so far as to say that some guided busways run slower than if the bus was running on a normal (but empty) road.

I'm yet to see BTR that is as easy for people in wheelchair's to use. The buses are still narrow, and not the wide vehicles light rail can offer. Where there are elevated stops provided for buses the drivers cannot be expected to be as close to the "platform" everystop, where as light rail will be at the some distance, everytime. A gap of 8-10cm is not a problem for most people, but try getting across that with a wheelchair.

I'm yet to see a bus that offers anything close to the room (and loading capacity) of modern light rail.

Buses have their place in an intergrated transport system. Light rail requires a level of population density higher than that required to support a decent bus system, but in my experience a bus system cannot delivery the level of service a light rail system delivers.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 03:32 AM   #28
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Bogota is an example of a city with a full BRT system. Although still in its early stages (just 30% of the city is covered by now) by 2015 it will have 400 kms of separate bus lanes and stations that will transport over 5 million pax a day.

The secret of success for the Bogota Transmilenio system, as it is called, is the metro style working system such as several integrated lines, non contact cards at entrance to pay for access to all they system, fully wheelchair accesible with ramps into elevated stations and no steps in buses, sliding glass doors that open at stations directly into the four large access doors of the double length buses, satelite controlled timings for the buses and intermediate bus depots for deployment of extra buses in city centre in the city for peak times.

The first line opened in 2000 and by now over 1.3 million pax travel in the system a day. Other very good things about our BRT are having express buses that stop at certain stations only allowing pax that travel the city´s length not to have and endure but a few stops through the city. Most stations will have a different express bus stopping allowing pax multiple ways to cross the city fast, and buses change lines enableling pax to stay on board their transport all the way home without having to walk to change lines.




This is the link to the city´s TM site:

http://www.transmilenio.gov.co/trans...me_english.htm

http://www.surumbo.com/index2.php3?d...nvaentrada.htm

This is the link to the SCC thread on Transmilenio (sorry it is in Spanish but a few interesting pictures):

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=422306
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Old April 19th, 2007, 04:51 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Tancred View Post
I would be very interested to hear what cities have "real" BRT. In my experience BRT is a way to save money, while not providing LRT levels of service. I'm yet to see BRT run as fast as light Rail can. Having ridden on several guided bus systems i'm yet to see how they are *any* faster. In fact, I would go so far as to say that some guided busways run slower than if the bus was running on a normal (but empty) road.

I'm yet to see BTR that is as easy for people in wheelchair's to use. The buses are still narrow, and not the wide vehicles light rail can offer. Where there are elevated stops provided for buses the drivers cannot be expected to be as close to the "platform" everystop, where as light rail will be at the some distance, everytime. A gap of 8-10cm is not a problem for most people, but try getting across that with a wheelchair.

I'm yet to see a bus that offers anything close to the room (and loading capacity) of modern light rail.

Buses have their place in an intergrated transport system. Light rail requires a level of population density higher than that required to support a decent bus system, but in my experience a bus system cannot delivery the level of service a light rail system delivers.
Can you show me a LRT moving quickly through an inner city (without having to tunnel the line). Virtually every video I've seen of a LRT system working in an inner urban area shows it toddling along barely any faster than a streetcar, even with its own dedicated lane. I take the bus on a regular basis, and I know that even between short stops buses tend to accelerate and break at a comparable speed to cars. BRT may not be quite as fast as LRT in areas where they can build its own private corridor, but it is quite capable.

Here is a video of a BRT flying through inner city/suburban traffic (notice how quickly it breaks and accelerates).


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjMvhz8qqXY

Here it is compared to traffic flowing in the same direction (notice how smoothly it makes that turn).


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcSgdGqQEOQ

Here is a BRT on its own private corridor reaching LRT quality speeds (92km/h).


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvPjBFzHEhg

Here is a LRT in downtown Portland. Look at this mother fly...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iadkSGE0tqs

EDIT: Did they remove the YouTube feature??? All I get is white now.

Last edited by Electrify; April 19th, 2007 at 05:05 AM.
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Old April 20th, 2007, 05:39 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrify View Post
I've seen numbers that show BRT service approaching that of LRT. Also "real" BRT does not suffer from those examples you mentioned. It runs in its own dedicated busway barriered off from traffic, and LRT would get traffic priorities as well. And just LRT, BRT can have its own dedicated corridors with no traffic whatsoever to deal with (ie: LA's Orange route). I think when people realize how fast BRT can be in more developed areas when done correctly, the image that "buses are for poor people" will drift away.

As for your ticket purchase point, I know what you are talking about. I once overheard a story of a girl when asked to show her fare, showed her ticket book not realizing she had to validate, and of course received a $130 fine (great way to treat new customers, eh?). But what is stopping a similar scenario from happening at an at grade LRT stop??? Also in Curitiba, their BRT has full stations which you cannot access unless you pay your fare (and the same strategy could be used on LRT as well).
I guess I am not getting your point. To me, the discussion is: what is better - pay as you board, pay by an electronic card, or have a controlled entry station. As you describe above, it is a controlled entry station. My comment to that is that in many (most?) areas, the cost of building a dedicated busway with controlled stations that people cannot easily sneak into ends up being close to the cost of a regular transit system. While there are a few cases of such a system, most BRT is basically a bus with advanced ticketing and traffic priority. You are right that LRT and Busses face the same exact problem - fare collection I do not think is something that differs between the two.

Electrify- sorry I can't see your videos. So, I am going to have to go based on experience here. I can easily find places where a bus moves along at a fast clip - those are usually low density areas or areas where there are few obstacles, few stops, and no traffic. Some of those locations might actually be better served by Busses, ads the density may not be there. But in deeper cities I certainly hope that my bus isn't moving that fast. Yes I have seen them do that. I have also seen them in some pretty bad traffic accidents. We could always speed our LRT up, but will we live with that level of safety concern? If you want to see better speeds, perhaps look to places such as Boston's Green Line, which in some places is able to run much faster. Of course, your top speed is going to depend a lot upon how close your stations or stops are.There is a big appearance of speed, too. Look at the size comparison. The longer light rail vehicles appear to be moving much slower from the outside. Ironically get inside and I bet you feel very differently.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 09:33 AM   #31
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There's Melbourne's horribly ineffective system that's used on trams (and the Stony Point line) which is about to be phased out: put ticket vending machines inside every single vehicle and hope that everyone travels with a valid ticket.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 07:52 AM   #32
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Numbers to support the need for fare-paid all door boarding

Figures that support the difference that fare-paid all door boarding makes:

From the Guangzhou BRT project: http://www.gzbrt.org/en/stations.asp

Quote:
The importance of BRT station design
The key to the success of TransMilenio in Bogota (see video here and here) is a station design that allows high volumes of buses and passengers to pass at high speeds. Station design will also be one of the keys to the success of the Guangzhou BRT. The station designs presented in this study ensure both adequate passenger waiting space and that operational speeds of at least 26 km/hr can be maintained throughout the Guangzhou BRT corridor.

Station spacing
BRT stations have been located near existing bus stops, but closer BRT station spacing is a major improvement compared to the current bus stop spacing. BRT stations on Zhongshan Avenue will have an average spacing of 695m.

Pre-board fare collection and level boarding and alighting
BRT stations should have pre-board fare collection and level boarding and alighting (see pictures below and video http://www.gzbrt.org/videos/on-off.swf ). This allows very rapid boarding and alighting of 0.3 seconds per boarding passenger, compared to normal buses where boarding can take as long as 2 to 5 seconds per passenger.
What a wealth of information on that site!
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 08:26 AM   #33
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Old May 25th, 2007, 05:30 PM   #34
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The Bus Rapid Transit Thread

Here in Milwaukee, it looks as if we're going to have to go with a BRT-type system if we want to get any transit improvements built.

To that end, I'm interested in hearing about different BRT or even just higher-quality bus systems around the world.

Post images, maps, facta, etc about bus rapid transit or higher-quality than normal bus service in your area and tell me what ou think about it. Has it really improved transit service in your city or has it just become another bus line?


Thanks for the help.
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Old May 25th, 2007, 10:36 PM   #35
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Here in Milwaukee, it looks as if we're going to have to go with a BRT-type system if we want to get any transit improvements built.
Why not light rail?

If there is one US city that needs light rail that doesn’t have it, it’s Milwaukee. Even with all-bus, Milwaukee seems to have higher transit ridership per capita than many cities that have built light rail & several good potential rail corridors.
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Old May 26th, 2007, 06:07 AM   #36
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Is there a truley successful BRT system in the US? I know that Ottawa has a pretty good system, but for what it is, if you had to build it from scratch
I bet it would cost more (both money and land wise) than a Light Rail or Monorail.
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Old May 26th, 2007, 05:13 PM   #37
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The Orange Line in Los Angeles is the first fully featured BRT line in the United States. In this context, the term "fully featured" refers to having amenities similar to light rail such as:

- Right of way segregated from other traffic except at crossings of intersecting streets.
- Stations with canopied waiting areas.
- An off-vehicle fair payment system.





The BRT Orange Line and the light rail Gold Line make for an interesting comparison:

Corridor
Gold Line LRT: Sierra Madre through Pasadena to Los Angeles Union Station with connections to MetroLink and Red Line
Orange Line BRT: Canoga Park through Van Nuys to North Hollywood Red Line Terminus

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

Number of Stations
Gold Line LRT: 13
Orange Line BRT: 13

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

Average Weekday Boardings for 2006
Gold Line LRT: 18,735
Orange Line BRT: 23,243

Construction Cost
Gold Line LRT:$859 Million
Orange Line BRT: $330 Million

For more information, see the following websites:
http://www.metro.net/projects_progra...nteractive.htm
http://thetransitcoalition.us/TTC_BRT_Orange.htm
http://www.metro.net/news_info/facts.htm

Last edited by greg_christine; May 28th, 2007 at 05:34 AM.
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Old May 26th, 2007, 05:27 PM   #38
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you should check out the Viva threads, just outside of toronto
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Old May 27th, 2007, 01:12 AM   #39
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One thing to note about the Gold Line/Orange Line comparison is that the Orange Line's corridor is about 40% more densly populated.

That's not to say the Orange Line isn't a success or the Gold Line didn't cost more than it should have. Just to note that there's a slight apples-to-oranges comarison going on here.
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Old May 27th, 2007, 01:26 AM   #40
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Edmonton will be building a BRT line from WEM to either University or Downtown. One or the other. Right now they are going to have presentations and meetings and the sort in the next couple weeks. I'll be going as the house I live in will be affected by this.
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