Image via WikipediaThe RTC in Las Vegas was planning a Light Rail line from Henderson all the way to North Las Vegas but instead will now have ACE Rapid Transit. So what is ACE Rapid Transit? It is the newest Las Vegas Bus Rapid Transit project that will not be very rapid.
ACE Rapid Transit
Of course they are using the usual BRT propaganda that it will be just like light rail only cheaper. For anyone that has ridden the 35M knows that it may be a little faster but it is not like light rail except you don't put money into the farebox (well at some stops you have to), and you can board from any door, beyond that it is not like light rail.
This new service will travel from the Premium Outlet Malls near downtown Las Vegas through downtown then down the Las Vegas Strip. While ACE is bragging about exclusive lanes that the buses will use, they only cover the section of the route from the Premium Mall are to Casino Center and Imperial which is less than a third of the route. The rest of the route will be in the streets which includes Las Vegas Blvd.
For anyone like me who are familiar with Las Vegas will know this whole thing is a joke. The area with exclusive lanes does not have a traffic problem. I have traveled these streets many times and I have never been stuck in traffic. On the other hand who in their right minds drives down Las Vegas Blvd through the strip area unless you are people watching because they will be passing you or your a tourist who doesn't know any better?
You cannot say anything driving down Las Vegas Blvd in mixed traffic is rapid.
What they don't tell you is the disadvantage of this system over rail transit:
1. When your bus is full, you cannot just add another car to the train. You have to add another bus and driver which increases cost.
2. Light rail vehicles and streetcars carry more passengers than any US legal buses.
3. Operation cost are higher per passenger on a bus than a light rail or streetcar.
Las Vegas needs real answers not a repackaged bus that is covering an already overcrowded corridor. But this is just another example of how BRT is being sold as a magical answer that it is not.
There is better ways to invest transit dollars than Bus Rapid Transit such as Streetcar, Rapid Streetcar and Light Rail.