Politics Bus Rapid Transit
Seattlest kicks a few holes in Ron Sims’ BRT plan—and I couldn’t agree more:
Bus Rapid Transit as an alternative to actual mass transit sucks. It’s what anti-transit people offer to cities to ridicule their efforts at light rail or monorails…. And they are said to “work” in a few of those places, although the mark of success for BRT is significantly lower than for light rail. If the actual goal is to get people out of their cars and onto transit by choice, no one’s going to give up the hybrid for a damn bus.
When Ron Sims came in to talk up his BRT plan in May he brought along Kevin Desmond, general manager of Metro. Desmond admitted that BRT isn’t really rapid transit. That’s reason enough to vote against Sims’ bus plan. From the Slog archives…
They were here to sell us on Transit Now, Sims’ proposed sales tax increase to boost Metro bus service. They describe the plan as “Bus Rapid Transit,ā€¯ which is an odd thing to call adding more buses to already crowded city streets—because, um, aren’t all those new buses going to be stuck in traffic with the old buses and cars already on the road? Unless, of course, traffic lanes currently open to cars are reserved for buses only, right? (It’s a nice idea—hey, I’m for anything that makes driving less convenient—but I’m not holding my breath.) When I said that I didn’t think more buses stuck in traffic could be described as rapid transit, Desmond said, and I quote, “It’s not true rapid transit.ā€¯
Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. Desmond.