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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Report Proves That Seattle's Rapid Ride Is Not Bus Rapid Transit

Posted by on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 4:15 PM

Slog tipper Tim sent along a blog post from Greater Greater Washington about a report from the The Institute for Transportation & Development Policy that "describe[s] minimum characteristics necessary for a bus route to qualify" as bus rapid transit.

So far, only 5 lines in the United States have scored highly enough to qualify as true BRT, and all 5 rank at the bronze level. Not one is even silver, let alone gold.

According to ITDP, the best performing BRT systems in the world are Bogota, Colombia and Guangzhou, China, which score 93/100 and 89/100, respectively. They are the gold standard.

By comparison, the United States' highest-scoring BRT route is Cleveland's Health Line, which hits bronze with a score of 63. The other 4 bronze BRT lines in the US are in Eugene, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Las Vegas.

You can read the full report as a PDF right here. Needless to say, Seattle's Rapid Ride doesn't merit the Institute's consideration as real bus rapid transit. In fact, the report even accuses Rapid Ride, along with other so-called BRT systems in New York City and Kansas City, of helping to "confuse the American public about what exactly constitutes BRT." Slog already knew that Rapid Ride is not bus rapid transit, but it's always nice to get confirmation from the experts.

 

Comments (17) RSS

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17
Paul, a bitchy style note from a onetime copy editor... King County Metro's pseudo-BRT express bus system is "RapidRide"; "Rapid Ride" is the name of both a pseudo-BRT express bus system in Albuquerque, NM, and a conventional bus system in Rapid City, SD.
Posted by bidab on January 18, 2013 at 4:16 PM · Report this
16
Why bother with monorail when you could build an elevated busway? No fancy tracks - just flat concrete. No expensive guiding system, just a dude behind a wheel with no fear of pedestrians other cars. Need to go up or down a hill? No problem! The 4-stroke combustion engine and rubber wheels - with parts available from manufacturers all over the world, in standard sizes and costs. An entire nationwide infrastructure to train potential operators is already in place, as is fueling. Maintenance could be handled by the same facilities and staff that we already have!

To me this is the most obvious thing in the world. The #1 problem is existing street congestion; not the wheel technology (steel/rubber/"mono"), number of doors, or fueling (we've had electric buses since the 1930's)
Posted by fetish on January 18, 2013 at 3:50 PM · Report this
Posted by sea of key on January 18, 2013 at 3:01 PM · Report this
stinky 14
The Health Line goes right down Euclid Avenue. It was political will that made it happen- not a convenient right of way.
Posted by stinky on January 18, 2013 at 2:52 PM · Report this
13
It's no coincidence that rust belt cities Cleveland and Pittsburgh have successful BRT. Those cities have extensive abandoned railroad lines which could be converted to separate-grade BRT. Anywhere else, you have to build the separate grade from scratch, and BRT becomes as expensive or more expensive than rail.
Posted by monorail on January 18, 2013 at 7:53 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 12
If only we could come up with something that rode ABOVE traffic? Some sort of train that would have a few limited and dedicated stops. A train that never had to deal with traffic because it rode on a single rail above it all.

Man...if only we could think of something like that. Wonder what we could call it? Singlerail? No...that's not quite right...
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on January 18, 2013 at 7:45 AM · Report this
Mahtli69 11
But the new buses have 3 doors.
Posted by Mahtli69 on January 18, 2013 at 6:53 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 10
#9

People "want to" go to downtown Seattle...that is why the highways are clogged for 3 hours every night with people fleeing from it.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on January 18, 2013 at 1:29 AM · Report this
9
"Rapid Transit" must go places people want to go.

Nobody wants to go to the shoulder of a highway.

And thus highway buses can never be "BRT".

There. Discredited Bailo in three easy sentences.
Posted by d.p. on January 18, 2013 at 1:10 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 8
RapidRide which crawls along streets isn't.

However Metro and SoundTransit's network of express buses that use HOV lanes is.

We'd have a great transit system if we simply ran those...all the time.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on January 17, 2013 at 6:53 PM · Report this
TVDinner 7
Go, Cleveland, go!

(You're going faster than we are, at least.)
Posted by TVDinner http:// on January 17, 2013 at 6:08 PM · Report this
6
@4 When this plan was put together, Ron Sims was the King County Executive and therefore the ultimate boss of metro. He advocated for it strongly over light rail.

Interestingly, Sound Transit express routes like the 545 or 555 get riders from point A to point B faster than BRT routes, but I don't believe ST has ever claimed these are BRT because they don't have fancy ticket machines or new bus stops. They're just buses that stop less frequently.
Posted by decidedlyodd on January 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM · Report this
5
@4 When this plan was put together, Ron Sims was the King County Executive and therefore the ultimate boss of metro. He advocated for it strongly over light rail.

Interestingly, Sound Transit express routes like the 545 or 555 get riders from point A to point B faster than BRT routes, but I don't believe ST has ever claimed these are BRT because they're just buses that stop less frequently.
Posted by decidedlyodd on January 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM · Report this
Looking For a Better Read 4
Did Metro or Sound Transit actually ever claim that Rapid Ride was equivalent to BRT?
Posted by Looking For a Better Read on January 17, 2013 at 4:45 PM · Report this
Steven Bradford 3
But that Broadway trolley it'll be a huge improvement and totally worth the extra cost. Man that thing will be so much better than rapid ride. Even if it does have the same limitations, multiplied.
Posted by Steven Bradford http://www.seanet.com/~bradford/ on January 17, 2013 at 4:39 PM · Report this
2
But it's pretty and stupidly expensive to build. That should keep progressives happy.
Posted by Sugartit on January 17, 2013 at 4:30 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 1
Well, at least they qualify as Brass.

Nobody in Ballard or Fremont or most of N Seattle likes RapidRide changes, just means it takes us twice as long to get anywhere.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 17, 2013 at 4:21 PM · Report this

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