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Buses World News

In brief: Worldwide montly news & informations about Buses, Busmakers, Passengers' and the Transport Industry

18.5.15

INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS * USA: Contrafow lane for buses on SF Gate

* California - Wrong-way bus lane: Right fix for Bay Bridge jams?

 -- Sometimes to get where you’re going, you have to head in the opposite direction... Such is the idea behind an unusual proposal to relieve crowding for transbay transit riders by turning an eastbound lane on the Bay Bridge into a bus lane heading west into San Francisco during the morning commute... With BART trains packed during the morning commute and the economy booming, transportation officials are pondering the creation of what’s known as a contraflow lane. The lane would allow transit agencies, including AC Transit, to run more buses into San Francisco... A morning contraflow lane is just one idea in a regional study looking at how to improve travel across the bay by increasing the capacity of transit. BART carries more than 430,000 riders a day, and trains through the Transbay Tube have become increasingly crowded. The new study aims to come up with quick, mid-range and long-term solutions. A long-range fix — a second Transbay Tube — has been the biggest attention-grabber so far... While far less sexy, converting a lane of traffic to a wrong-way bus lane across the bridge would provide relatively quick and inexpensive relief to transit commuters. The cost is projected at $51 million to $177 million... The concept for the contraflow lanes would place buses, and carpools if allowed, in the No. 1 — the northernmost — of the five eastbound lanes of the Bay Bridge. Existing lanes would be narrowed by 4 to 7 inches, depending on the lane, to make way for a 12-foot-wide bus and carpool lane with 2 feet for a movable barrier like the one on the Golden Gate Bridge. The lane would operate only during the morning commute... Buses would access the lane in the East Bay via an existing carpool-bus lane on Interstate 80, a new carpool lane on Interstate 580 or a new ramp from Interstate 880. They would travel across the bridge in the dedicated lane, then exit on a Transbay Transit Center bus ramp between the First Street and Fremont Street ramps... There is less need for such a solution during the evening commute, because it is not as concentrated as the morning commute, explained AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson... 

... AC Transit, which runs 30 transbay bus lines carrying about 14,000 passengers a day, is interested in the possibility of the bus lane. Its buses now use carpool lanes and special ramps to skirt the backup at the Bay Bridge toll plaza but must sit in the often-sluggish traffic across the span. That traffic is only going to get worse and would likely make bus trips not competitive within 20 years, the 2011 study found... Whether the contraflow bus lane rolls toward reality remains to be seen. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission expects to complete the current capacity study within two years, and it’s likely to make a recommendation on whether the lane should be considered. Transportation officials will also have to persuade Caltrans to approve the project and find the money...
(Photo: by Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle - Aerial view of the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Bridge suspension tower visible from the Oakland, Calif., side on Wednesday, January 14, 2015)  --  San Francisco, CAL, USA - San Francisco Gate, by Michael Cabanatuan - May 17, 2015

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