CyrusKafaiWu

Baseline BRT

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I was at the open house last night.

The people who attended are concerned about access to their property (namely the apartment building at Baseline/Clyde). As well, some wanted all local buses to travel on the new BRT corridor instead of in mix-traffic, even if those local routes are travelling a short stretch of Baseline Road. 

The construction timeline for this project is divided into two phases: Phase 1 between Baseline Station and Heron between now and 2031; Phase 2 between Baseline and Bayshore beyond 2031. When this project will begin construction will be subject to funding. 

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I am generally opposed to BRT because when it's done it's always more expensive than putting a streetcar or LRT (European style which is open like this plan). 

The 118 which covers this route is already packed and while transit priority would help if we are going to build all this infrastructure we might as well do it right. 

We can get bids and considering that Alstom is already building our LRTs am sure we can get a good deal; if not a competitor will be happy to. 

If we have enough passengers to do this we have enough for LRT.

2031 and after this is ridiculous, climate change requires radical action now, we can make a good case for this for higher orders of government. 

The federal Gov't having approved an LNG project will have to do the same for Alberta petrol pipeline and is already getting flack about this because it goes against the commitments made in Paris.

The time to pressure senior levels of government is now. This should be built in the next few years 2-3 max.

 

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6 hours ago, chimo said:

I am generally opposed to BRT because when it's done it's always more expensive than putting a streetcar or LRT (European style which is open like this plan).

Bullshit. Buses don't need overhead, substations and step-down transformers, rails, signals, etc.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'll always take a vehicle on rails over one running on tires. But there's no need to lie about it, either.

 

Dan

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27 minutes ago, smallspy said:

Bullshit. Buses don't need overhead, substations and step-down transformers, rails, signals, etc.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'll always take a vehicle on rails over one running on tires. But there's no need to lie about it, either.

 

Dan

I didn't expect such a strong reaction. Decades of independent analysis and heck even papers by APTA demonstrates that light rail is always cheaper than BRT. 

I didn't think I would need to explain that in this forum. Buses require more maintenance than LRT and that 60' artic is getting as expensive to buy than a streetcar nowadays, sorry more expensive actually. Am not saying I want the same train we will send down the Confederation Line on Baseline. Of course not.

Road surfacing and of course diesel will easily cover that difference and more compared to all the electric systems. And that's without taking into account externalities such as the pollution of diesel and its effect on the health of citizens. 

As for signaling systems, there should be no difference than what it costs to have a transit priority as that's all you would need for the Baseline project. And if they build the BRT without transit priority it's a bloody waste of time and money. Just send more buses then.

Furthermore after what we went through in Ottawa with the Transitway no one can even dispute that. We spent way more than the worse case scenario for LRT just to set it up, then the repaving just made it worse. Comparison were even made to other cities that built open LRT lines around the same time.

BRT is not some painted lines on the road, those are reserved lanes and that will be cheaper. The moment you start doing what's in the plan that was linked you get into LRT expense territory. 5 years after you need to repave as those buses are heavy. 

Rail? A pass or two with the grinder car. 

So no, there's no lying or bullshit. 

Its the same thing in Australia. BRT just doesn't cost less. The stations are the same. 

So it's not that I prefer rail, as a user I want the right tool for the job, as a citizen I want proper financial stewardship as well. 

Its been studied extensively. The bus has an important role to play but it's not to carry a large number of people in a corridor that's several km long. 

In Ottawa we have been burning way too much cash on long routes for too long. As a citizen I could not care less whether it's OC or the City road budget that pays for the maintenance of that road because in the end we all pay for it. And that what's the old Regional council tricked us with the transitway. In the cost comparison they included rail maintenance but not road maintenance! To favour BRT over LRT.

That debate was resolved decades ago. The whole lets build a BRT first then convert it later to LRT doesn't work. You spend more just on the BRT and then spend some more on ripping out the BRT and building the LRT. 

If you don't have enough traffic to justify LRT you don't have enough for BRT. That simple.

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To help solve this debate, accounting style.

1. Take the fixed capital cost to develop for each alternative (lrt vs bus)

Bus:283 mil LRT: 500 mil

2. Take the costs to run the service each year (variable cost rate * vehicles/ridership/etc)

3. Take the required maintenance costs for the lifetime of the product.

4. Take into an idea of how many people will ride the service in brt form vs lrt form.

5. Develop a metric or rate such as Net Present value (how much it will cost in total for its life, in today's dollars), cost per a passenger, passengers per a dollar spent (yes, backwards), economic benefit per a dollar spent, etc.

Too bad, this is a forum, and I don't have time to do a quantative analysis on this matter.

But in short, take some quantative information into consideration

Edited by CyrusKafaiWu
I was being condescending, therefore, edit had to be made

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I would have to do some digging the APTA did the exercise long time ago. And they are bus friendly. One of the many reasons why the NY MTA withdrew from it.

A problem is that we are often sold the BRT with having an initial lower capital cost. However in North America or Australia all BRT projects ended up having higher initial capital project costs which eliminates the financial advantage. As it's been proven that operating costs are lower for the LRT. So it's crucial to get the capital costs down. That's how the Transitway was sold except that at the same time in Europe there were LRT projects being built and ended up costing less in capital than what Ottawa-Carleton spent, which again was considerably higher than what has been promised. Our Transitway is actually a case in point, hence why am surprised we are having this discussion.

Even then the operating costs over 25 years typically means you save the capital difference if you have one (at least in Europe it has happened that some BRT projects had a lower initial capital investment; but they were not the type of system we had). 

I understand that the Baseline project should not have the scope creep that the Transitway had, but am not confident our politicians can resist. 

That being said instead of waiting until 2031 for this, couldn't we have reserved lanes and transit priority signals? This would be not only cheaper or affordable but could be done in months.

That corridor needs relief now.

Then when the city finds the funding in 2031 it can upgrade that corridor to either BRT or LRT.

Because I just don't see how that first phase will be built before 2031. 

 

 

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By the time  Phase 1 is built I'll be retired so most likely this won't effect me. But instead of spending millions of dollrs on changing the entire road, why not just do it the old fashion way and add one lane on each side and turn it  into the bus lane only. Yes some might loose a bit of property and there might be no turning onto certain streets, but its been done in other parts of the city why not here.

 

Like I said this probably won't effect me as I'll be retired or on disability?

 

Also 2031 is 15 years away, things can change betwen now and then transit techmology wise that is. The issue with eletric is cost? Look at your hydro bills and imagine how nuch this will cost the city in Hydro?

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On 10/8/2016 at 8:08 AM, MCIBUS said:

Also 2031 is 15 years away, things can change betwen now and then transit techmology wise that is. The issue with eletric is cost? Look at your hydro bills and imagine how nuch this will cost the city in Hydro?

The cost of buying electricity for an electric vehicle is way cheaper than the cost of buying gasoline for a combustion engine vehicle. Even with today's electricity rates, an electric car like a Tesla or a Nissan Leaf uses about $2 worth of electricity for every 100km.. about half the cost of even the most efficient gas cars. This stems from the fact that with an internal combustion engine the vast majority of energy produced is waste heat whereas an electric motor produces almost entirely kinetic energy.

Converting the Transitway to LRT for Confederation Line Phase 1 will reduce OC Transpo's yearly costs by $15 million--about $5 million of that is from replacing diesel with electricity.

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There are pros and cons to both systems.

 

With buses you can basically go any where.

 

With electric trains, your limited where you can go(space available) and in that you need to grade slop level when going up or down hills, also if you have storms ice storms as an example and the ice snaps the eletrical lines your system comes to a hault in that area thats effected.also if there is a power outage your sysytem comes to a hault. Even if you have sub stations thise stations are feed by a main power source either Hydro Ottawa or Hydro 1 which ever the case may be.

 

Like I said each has its good points and bad points.

 

The one thing thats going to piss people off the most is transfers. Since the 1970's passengers more or less had direct(one bus)to downtonw/back home)and now there being forced to transfer.

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I used to think there were good and bad points to everything and used to think BRT was good to have. 

But looking at numbers and experience made me rethink my position. I agree with MCIBUS when he says why can't we put a lane on each side. 

Its affordable and we could do this in months over the entire corridor. 

I agree with 1overcosc with regards to electricity. To that I would add that oil has been over subsidized and of course the environmental impact is significant, which also has a financial cost over and above the health cost.

 I would not compare the cost of electricity for our trains to our utility bills as there are shenanigans on that. Higher bills helps with the partial privatization of Hydro One. So it's different. 

With regards to flexibility of the bus: that's not a positive. We have been spending way too much on that "one-seat" ride in Ottawa. It costs too much and reduce reliability because you have way too many long thin routes going over a corridor. It's needlessly complex. 

We need trunk routes to which local routes connect. Connecting is not an issue when we have a high frequency transit system. That's what's missing in Ottawa and we can't encourage people to use the system with routes that comes every 30 min or even worse. High frequency system is a must.

Even at peak hour the multiplicity of routes is not an advantage as you have to do the Transitway run to get to your bus instead of just taking the first bus that brings you to your local hub. Which is something I noticed more and more people on express do anyway if their route allows for it. It's quicker and more comfortable.

Baseline is a high demand corridor that could see even more usage if we were willing to invest. Putting a BRT would allow various routes to use it and that's not good. We need to get away from this operating philosophy. Baseline is a trunk route and the locals should bring you to and from it but not get on it.

That way our buses and drivers are more likely to be where the plan expects them to, reducing very late or cancelled runs.

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I don't know what the future holds for the BRT on Baseline or the LRT Phase 1 & 2 or what other transit projects are in store, all I do know is change is coming and some are not going to like it. Yes I understand about the "one seat" direct service to downtown, but you have to realize is that for 40+ years Ottawan's have had this and now there going to have change. Change doesn't come easy, but for Baby Boomers,Yuppies and Gen Xers who more or less have had this service their entire lives are suddenly asked to change. Basically they have no choice either except it or take your car.  The Milelium Generation on the other had, even the first generation may have had this(no transfer) they more likely are willing except change as the second part of their generation will grow up with the LRT & BRT.

Since I'm part of the first Gen Xer's may not like the change, but got no choice but except it and just move on.Because all the Baby Boomers,Yuppies,Gen Xers I know when asked about this bitch and whine that there going to be forced to transfer now, where as the Milelium  Gen's I know when asked about this say Yeah, so what  you're going to have to transfer, big deal , stop bitching and whining about it, get over it.

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9 minutes ago, MCIBUS said:

I don't know what the future holds for the BRT on Baseline or the LRT Phase 1 & 2 or what other transit projects are in store, all I do know is change is coming and some are not going to like it. Yes I understand about the "one seat" direct service to downtown, but you have to realize is that for 40+ years Ottawan's have had this and now there going to have change. Change doesn't come easy, but for Baby Boomers,Yuppies and Gen Xers who more or less have had this service their entire lives are suddenly asked to change. Basically they have no choice either except it or take your car.  The Milelium Generation on the other had, even the first generation may have had this(no transfer) they more likely are willing except change as the second part of their generation will grow up with the LRT & BRT.

Since I'm part of the first Gen Xer's may not like the change, but got no choice but except it and just move on.Because all the Baby Boomers,Yuppies,Gen Xers I know when asked about this bitch and whine that there going to be forced to transfer now, where as the Milelium  Gen's I know when asked about this say Yeah, so what  you're going to have to transfer, big deal , stop bitching and whining about it, get over it.

I had to google to see where I fit in all these generations but it appears I am a gen X 

you raise important points and considering what little traffic there is in Ottawa it is so easy to jump in the car.

I sold my car in 2011 and went transit full time with the occasional car rental. But it's important to make transit attractive. Hence why I hope we will switch to a higher frequency system. 

With the points you raise it is so important to educate the public to the benefits. I certainly don't want to tell anyone to stop bitch and whine about transfers. My hope is that we can educate the public on how you can go faster with a transfer on such a system. 

Once the Confederation line is active and if we get such a bus network it will go a long way on educating the public. 

Fingers crossed about that. 

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I think most one-seat riders will be okay enough with the switch.

In the AM, inbound riders will be dropped off at an LRT station where they will have a very short wait for a train, that will get them downtown very quickly. The total door-to-door travel time in the AM will likely drop even with the transfer time taken into account. So the benefits of a faster trip will be able to cancel out the drawbacks of a transfer.

In the PM, outbound riders will take the train, then have to wait for their bus. This will be more annoying as they'll likely be waiting 5-10 (possibly as much as 15) minutes for a bus, but they'll be waiting in a comfortable climate controlled area where their bus will pull up to a designated bay--a much nicer experience than the current setup of having to jostle among a huge crowd on the sidewalk at Albert/Slater to get to your bus. So for this run, the increased comfort and quality of experience will be able to cancel out the drawbacks of a transfer.

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I'm willing to except change, I just hope that Hurdman Station is better heated then the old Hurdman station, because those heaters didn't really keep you warm

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On 2016-10-06 at 11:41 PM, chimo said:

I didn't expect such a strong reaction. Decades of independent analysis and heck even papers by APTA demonstrates that light rail is always cheaper than BRT. 

I didn't think I would need to explain that in this forum. Buses require more maintenance than LRT and that 60' artic is getting as expensive to buy than a streetcar nowadays, sorry more expensive actually. Am not saying I want the same train we will send down the Confederation Line on Baseline. Of course not.

Road surfacing and of course diesel will easily cover that difference and more compared to all the electric systems. And that's without taking into account externalities such as the pollution of diesel and its effect on the health of citizens. 

As for signaling systems, there should be no difference than what it costs to have a transit priority as that's all you would need for the Baseline project. And if they build the BRT without transit priority it's a bloody waste of time and money. Just send more buses then.

Furthermore after what we went through in Ottawa with the Transitway no one can even dispute that. We spent way more than the worse case scenario for LRT just to set it up, then the repaving just made it worse. Comparison were even made to other cities that built open LRT lines around the same time.

BRT is not some painted lines on the road, those are reserved lanes and that will be cheaper. The moment you start doing what's in the plan that was linked you get into LRT expense territory. 5 years after you need to repave as those buses are heavy. 

Rail? A pass or two with the grinder car. 

So no, there's no lying or bullshit. 

Its the same thing in Australia. BRT just doesn't cost less. The stations are the same. 

So it's not that I prefer rail, as a user I want the right tool for the job, as a citizen I want proper financial stewardship as well. 

Its been studied extensively. The bus has an important role to play but it's not to carry a large number of people in a corridor that's several km long. 

In Ottawa we have been burning way too much cash on long routes for too long. As a citizen I could not care less whether it's OC or the City road budget that pays for the maintenance of that road because in the end we all pay for it. And that what's the old Regional council tricked us with the transitway. In the cost comparison they included rail maintenance but not road maintenance! To favour BRT over LRT.

That debate was resolved decades ago. The whole lets build a BRT first then convert it later to LRT doesn't work. You spend more just on the BRT and then spend some more on ripping out the BRT and building the LRT. 

If you don't have enough traffic to justify LRT you don't have enough for BRT. That simple.

Let's see a report - anything. I have never seen any such report, and frankly doubt its existence.

 

Over the long run - we're talking many decades - LRT _can_ be cheaper than BRT. (There are a whole lot of variables at play in any installation however, and it may still be that BRT comes out on top in certain situations.) But at that point we're talking about factoring in operating expenses, lifecycle replacements, etc., and that's not what your original post suggested.

 

As for the line about articulated buses costing as much as an LRT......are you on glue? I have yet to see a North American bus cost more than $1mil - LRVs are often priced out in excess of $2.5mil. And yes, I know about all the spiel of the rail vehicles lasting longer, etc. And while that part of it is true, that's not what was originally being discussed though.

 

Dan

 

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6 hours ago, smallspy said:

Let's see a report - anything. I have never seen any such report, and frankly doubt its existence.

 

Over the long run - we're talking many decades - LRT _can_ be cheaper than BRT. (There are a whole lot of variables at play in any installation however, and it may still be that BRT comes out on top in certain situations.) But at that point we're talking about factoring in operating expenses, lifecycle replacements, etc., and that's not what your original post suggested.

 

As for the line about articulated buses costing as much as an LRT......are you on glue? I have yet to see a North American bus cost more than $1mil - LRVs are often priced out in excess of $2.5mil. And yes, I know about all the spiel of the rail vehicles lasting longer, etc. And while that part of it is true, that's not what was originally being discussed though.

 

Dan

 

Actually Dan it should be me asking for a report on BRT. But perhaps it's my fault for not specifying what I meant. I believed that this being a forum on transit that I would be understood. I apologize I never intended to obfuscate nor to raise anyone's blood pressure. Am approaching this from a user and citizen's point of view.

The Confederation Line is not an LRT but a metro. That it is a low floor one doesn't distract from what it is. 

I am not talking about sending 48 meter long trains down Baseline, am thinking the type of operations that can be seen in Europe where 18-30 meter LRT or streetcars if you prefer run in both mixed sections and separate sections. 

A 60 foot bus is now in excess of 680 000$ whereas if you buy a 24 meter streetcar from anyone but Bombardier you can indeed pay a lot less while still getting a bigger vehicle than the 60 foot one.

Again the Transitway right here in Ottawa costed more to build than the worse case scenario for the equivalent LRT as costed by the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton which made sure that the LRT cost in that study would be as high as possible. Why is it so difficult to accept? 

My original point is that we have yet to see a BRT being built for less than an equivalent LRT line. Because that's the supposed advantage, reduced capital cost over an LRT. Operation cost there's no debate as even BRT supporters now admit that LRT/streetcars cost less to operate. Since the capital cost advantage has never happened, why go the BRT route? 

That goes to the heart of what the city proposes to build. So instead of hoping that phase 1 gets built sometime by 2031, either make the case to Queen's Park that to reduce carbon emissions they need to cough up and pay for an LRT or put some paint on the ground and have transit priority signals within months. We will have enough buses by 2018 and can replace them in small batches.

But to spend all that money on a quasi LRT but to run buses is not a good use of public funds. Also lets not forget that the under road (or the base strata) costs a lot more than for a streetcar road. For I wouldn't pave the road under the streetcar but put tracks over ballasts costs less to build and maintain.

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Amazing that in 2016 the city's still pushing for BRT. Either go LRT or introduce more cross-town bus routes using city streets. We already wasted 1/2 billion dollars replacing the BRT with LRT and we're apparently still not done with small-town-mentality busway expansion plans....utter insanity!!!!!!!!!

In addition, history has proven:

BRT = ridership decrease (see the original transitway).

LRT = ridership increase (see the original O-Train Trillium line which now carries double the original projection of weekday passengers).

I personally cannot wait for the Confederation line to open. I will gladly transfer. Sure the present day 94 to my house is no connection, but it's a horridly slow and miserable (i.e. cramped) experience to ride on.

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This whole discussion is really interesting and I hope that within OC management and the city there are similar discussions. 

What just hit me although I kind of hinted at it, is we are in a peak oil world with a significant climate change problem. So buying diesel buses shouldn't happen in 2031. I believe we should start transitioning the system now. 

What this means is that if we do a BRT on Baseline and elsewhere in the near future that means electric buses.

You can either put wires up and use trolleybus, or use induction (electro-induction is not good but straight induction works well) or battery buses.

There are costs to all three options , but they are unavoidable. I think that keeping this in mind helps out things in perspective

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36 minutes ago, chimo said:

This whole discussion is really interesting and I hope that within OC management and the city there are similar discussions. 

What just hit me although I kind of hinted at it, is we are in a peak oil world with a significant climate change problem. So buying diesel buses shouldn't happen in 2031. I believe we should start transitioning the system now. 

What this means is that if we do a BRT on Baseline and elsewhere in the near future that means electric buses.

You can either put wires up and use trolleybus, or use induction (electro-induction is not good but straight induction works well) or battery buses.

There are costs to all three options , but they are unavoidable. I think that keeping this in mind helps out things in perspective

As a Driver , I hate the Hybrids they are useless when doing Transitway routes they have no power !! I don't think the city would by anymore Electric buses after the mess they are dealing with from the Hybrids having a much higher operating cost then the Diesel buses. 

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20 minutes ago, dev161 said:

As a Driver , I hate the Hybrids they are useless when doing Transitway routes they have no power !! I don't think the city would by anymore Electric buses after the mess they are dealing with from the Hybrids having a much higher operating cost then the Diesel buses. 

Hybrid and electric technology has come in leaps and bounds in the last few years, particularly in Asia and Europe, North America lags far behind in sustainable public transit vehicles.

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10 minutes ago, Centralsmt said:

Hybrid and electric technology has come in leaps and bounds in the last few years, particularly in Asia and Europe, North America lags far behind in sustainable public transit vehicles.

Add to that the horrible design of the Orion VII which simply is another "made-in-Ontario" solution and you can be confident that today's electric buses will be a lot better than what you are used to drive. 

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Electric engines will replace the internal combustion engine. It's not a matter of "if" anymore, it's a matter of "when".

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