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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What does everything think about the QuickBus routes in Baltimore? I think they only have 2 permanent routes going right now -- but they have added some more routes at peak times. Basically, they are like BRT -- but without the designated lane or busway. They stop at major intersections and landmarks only and have 15 minute headways compared to 30 min headways for the local bus.

I like it. I've started using it to go to O's and Ravens games. I park at the end of route 70, walk down the entrance ramp to 70 (it would be nice if they had integrated the park and ride lot with the Forest Park stop) and catch the bus at the Forest Park stop next to the gas station on Cooks Lane. I do with they ran the buses later into the night for night games.

With all the talk of the red line lately, it makes me wonder if BRT would be the way to go. Not sure how much cheaper it would be than LRT to do it the right way, but if it could get up and running faster than the red line, I think it could work. I don't foresee a heavy ridership for the red line anyway.

Anyone else have any experiences with the QuickBus routes? Like or dislike? I waited over a half hour for a bus around 6:30 last night, but I chalked it up to the buses getting behind from the traffic downtown after the Ravens game, but other than that they have been pretty efficient.
 

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I take the 48 between downtown and Towson sometimes. It's ok, I suppose. They do come fairly often and get you there without feeling you're gonna age too much.
 

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The QuickBus routes are a great idea. But the MTA needs to do more with them. For example, the MTA should market these routes as they could be used to attract "choice riders". The MTA should also implement traffic signal priority technology that would allow buses to change traffic signals from red to green or at least extend the length of green lights on these routes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The QuickBus routes are a great idea. But the MTA needs to do more with them. For example, the MTA should market these routes as they could be used to attract "choice riders". The MTA should also implement traffic signal priority technology that would allow buses to change traffic signals from red to green or at least extend the length of green lights on these routes.
I agree, and I was wondering if they had done this already. It seems like the bus doesn't sit for lights very long, if at all.
 

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I've used the 40 several times and find it works very well in getting you across the line in good time. The 48 is also a great alternative to the 8 line in that you'll often pass 2 8's when taking a Downtown-Towson trip.

The 46 and 47 aren't quite as effective since they don't have big outer generators like the 40 and 48, and they only run in peaks. I did take the 46 once but it was only slightly faster than the 10.

All told, the quickbus is a good concept in that it delivers a faster alternative in a quick and cost effective manner. It won't build development like rail can, but it does a decent job of moving smaller amounts of people quickly through the area in a way that rail could never do affordably and local buses can't do quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The QB was part of the GBBI which was instituted under Ehrlich, I think.

Ironically, I voted for O'Mally in the belief that he will get the red line going and would be more supportive of future mass transit projects in Baltimore, but IMO, Ehrlich has done more for the city's mass transit than O'Malley has ever done with the GBBI and starting the QB routes. Granted, they weren't rail-based improvements but they did make a difference.

Am I correct in believing this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The QuickBus routes are a great idea. But the MTA needs to do more with them. For example, the MTA should market these routes as they could be used to attract "choice riders".
It would be really easy to do. They have already branded these buses differently than local buses with QuickBus logos on the LED display and even some signage at downtown bus stops. They just need to take it one step further with some billboards around town -- maybe even say something like "get a sneak peak of the red line on the #40".

They can also build a pedestrian walkway from the route 70 park and ride lot to the Forest Park Ave bus stop and add a covered seating area there with an LED display with waiting times for the next bus on it. Right now you need to walk down the entrance ramp to route 70 to get to the bus stop.

All this could be done with just a couple thousand dollars. The MTA should really take advantage of this as the red line gets held up in red tape.
 

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There is some signage specifically for the QuickBus in downtown, but I agree that it’s not enough to attract the interest of anyone not already looking for it. I ride the 40 everyday from Howard/Fayette out to Baltimore County and back. The whole trip takes about 20 minutes on average. Once the bus reaches downtown though, it gets stuck in rush hour like everything else, and can take quite a bit of time to move the city.

It used to be that I could count on the 40 to arrive every 10 minutes, but over the past few months, it’s reliability has plummeted. I routinely wait 20-30 minutes in the afternoon now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Do you take it east or west from downtown?

I think all MTA buses should have traffic signal preemption, especially the QB, to make its name a little more...realistic...during rush hour.

I also think the MTA should make these QB routes as un-buslike as possible, cycling out the older buses on the routes and using the newer "green" buses and building covered bus stations at all stops with GPS displays counting down the time for the next bus. Also install messaging screens to warn riders of delays or other problems.

The MTA should really market these bus routes for non-daily riders, and run them later to accommodate people attending major events downtown, like concerts at the arena and sporting events.

Basically, do everything they can to make this a BRT without actually dumping millions of dollars into building a BRT system. Like the Metro Rapid bus system in L.A.
 

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These quick bus routes are supposed to mimic light rail lines. If you look at the 40 quick bus it is actually almost the identical route map for the red line even down to the stops it makes. The idea was to see if the corridor would support the idea of a bus that did not stop at all the stops.

I also catch the 48 from school and I would love to see a light rail line going from Towson Mall to the Harbor. But in general I like them but recently they have been running pretty poorly. I think we got the concept from LA
 

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The QB was part of the GBBI which was instituted under Ehrlich, I think.

Ironically, I voted for O'Mally in the belief that he will get the red line going and would be more supportive of future mass transit projects in Baltimore, but IMO, Ehrlich has done more for the city's mass transit than O'Malley has ever done with the GBBI and starting the QB routes. Granted, they weren't rail-based improvements but they did make a difference.

Am I correct in believing this?
As I recall, the GBBI was a can't-win-for-losing project. It has always been obvious for anybody who cares to look, that the MTA buses are a crazy quilt of non-sensical routes that were based on 100 year old, defunct streetcar lines. When the MTA tried to put some rationality into the system, every retiree or carless person who couldn't get to their MD appt, ended up picketing in front of the MTA, proclaiming that the Governor didn't want them to get to the doctor. The fact that it was also partially a budget cutting device made that appear to be true.

Unfortunately that was also the time when they literally almost let the wheels fall off of the Light Rail trains, so badly that half of them had to be taken out of service for months in order to make repairs after Ehrlich was gone. Ehrlich's record on transit is mixed at best, but I guess that's moot now. The Quickbus may be the only lasting legacy of the GBBI. Given the glacial pace (at best) of any rail improvements, MTA ought to do more projects like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I gotta say, the more and more I use the QB, the more and more I like it.

I took it to the Ravens game yesterday, waited less than 5 mins for a bus each way, and the ride was pleasant and quick. I do wish they would be able to pre-empt some traffic lights -- not all, but some of the major intersections at least -- to speed up the ride even more, but overall this is quickly becoming my favorite mode of transit into the city for someone coming from Frederick County.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I used the QB for many Ravens games this season -- still no complaints. Seems to me this is something the MTA does pretty well. They should be marketing the QB more.
 
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