* USA - The bus vs. rail debate
Baltimore needs an effective transit system. Red Line's light rail service may be expensive, but that's doesn't make a touted rapid bus alternative more cost effective
(Video fromYouTube, by Mechaunt -31 Jan 2007: Riding through Baltimore on a Greyhound bus)
Baltimore,MAR,USA -The Baltimore Sun -23 Aug 2010: ... The debate over whether light rail or a kind of express bus service known as "bus rapid transit," or BRT, is a better fit for projects in Baltimore and Montgomery County... BRT: It's cheaper, and the Maryland Transportation Trust Fund doesn't have money to build a new bus system, either, but even so, to suggest BRT is cheaper is a little misleading. It's less expensive in that you pay less upfront, but it can be surprisingly costly in the long run... That's exactly the problem in Baltimore. Planners looked at BRT as an option for the Red Line but found it's still expensive — more than $1.1 billion if tunnels under Cooks Lane and downtown are built — but much slower and offering less capacity than a $1.6 billion light rail. Worse, computer models and rider surveys showed it would attract far fewer passengers... One could build such a system for as little as $500 million without tunnels, but then travel would be very slow. Even if buses could preempt signals (something the city would probably never allow downtown), commuters would likely get bogged down in traffic because of the disruption it would cause. Buses also have higher operating costs — $2.7 million more annually than light rail, according to a Maryland Transit Administration study... Buses, whether BRT, express or regular commuter, have their place — but they are no panacea. And while it's all very well to pledge to restore past trust fund withdrawals, as Mr. Ehrlich did on Friday, it's another thing to come up with a way to finance such promises whether they involve buses, rail lines or highways...
Labels: buses vs. rails