Friday, March 07, 2008

The 3500 South BRT line and Seattle...

Originally uploaded by MTS Rider
OK, what does Seattle have to do with UTA's 3500 South BRT line? Well, the Seattle Transit Blog has done a question and answer session with Metro (their transit system) about what they are calling Rapid Ride.

There is several important points to be taken from this blog:
-First Metro is rightly so saying that BRT is not an alternative to rail, it is being used to provide a faster supplemental service along a busy corridor. It is not being referred to as "just like rail...just cheaper".
-BRT is not being used to replace existing service but is supplementing a busy corridor (got that UTA?)
Here is some of the requirements of the new service:
-High current transit demand and latent transit demand as evidenced by ridership growth, development and travel trends
-Significant local as well as regional trip attractors and generators with all-day, two-way demand characteristics
-While the 3500 corridor does have high current transit demand (although not by Seattle standards), the others are questionable. On the other hand, please tell me what regional trip attractors and generators are present along 3500 South except between TRAX and the West Valley Mall.

I have mentioned before the BRT is going to do little to improve the corridor and most likely just steal riders from local routes. The BRT will not add any new markets and considering UTA is going to kill the regular route 35, there is obviously no need for a supplementary service.

A BRT route from Valley Fair Mall to TRAX to the eastside to the U of U would make more sense. Even better would be a BRT route from Ogden to Salt Lake City. This would not compete against Frontrunner since it would provide much more local service but using the technology would actually made a difference in trip times. After all when you are talking saving a half hour off a two hour schedule, then you are talking some time savings.

Once again this would not be designed to replace the existing 470 but supplement it with faster service. You could actually replace the 455 with this new service and provide local service by reinstating the 471 to all day service. That way you would have faster service along the US89 portion but the 471 would provide local service were it is still needed. This would provide a route that makes sense, can use the faster speeds, create new markets, and actually improve the route network.

The picture is of Eugene's new BRT buses, and yes they do have doors on the left side.

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