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I started this because I just want to know what everyone think works for BRT in Calgary and what doesn't.  Personally, I compare Calgary's BRT to New York City's "Limited" routes, is that they're simply regular routes with slight deviations running as express regular routes.

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2 minutes ago, Blake M said:

I started this because I just want to know what everyone think works for BRT in Calgary and what doesn't.  Personally, I compare Calgary's BRT to New York City's "Limited" routes, is that they're simply regular routes with slight deviations running as express regular routes.

Give it another 9 or so months and you will see some changes in the way BRTs are implemented and operated in Calgary that will start to creep up to match up with those higher class cities. Right now, it is no secret that they are running on an "express" model of service. City Council intially gave them that direction before the 301 was launched in the mid 2000s to simply move people faster on a budget. The 305 was created shortly after with the same purpose and the 302 was developed to display what the LRT could be like.

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4 minutes ago, Gsgeek540 said:

Give it another 9 or so months and you will see some changes in the way BRTs are implemented and operated in Calgary that will start to creep up to match up with those higher class cities. Right now, it is no secret that they are running on an "express" model of service. City Council intially gave them that direction before the 301 was launched in the mid 2000s to simply move people faster on a budget. The 305 was created shortly after with the same purpose and the 302 was developed to display what the LRT could be like.

I do hope there are more articulated buses purchased though, especially since they're used on school/community express runs. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like 93 won't be enough in the near future

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2 minutes ago, Nick B said:

I'd love to see some Nova LFX artics...!

Kelowna actually has BRT stops that are compatible with the Nova's so that there is no gap between the bus and the platform

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10 hours ago, Gsgeek540 said:

Give it another 9 or so months and you will see some changes in the way BRTs are implemented and operated in Calgary that will start to creep up to match up with those higher class cities. Right now, it is no secret that they are running on an "express" model of service. City Council intially gave them that direction before the 301 was launched in the mid 2000s to simply move people faster on a budget. The 305 was created shortly after with the same purpose and the 302 was developed to display what the LRT could be like.

It's great to hear that this is the case! Along with your comment from the bus pullout thread about there being a big change up coming in 2018, it has me excited for what's in store.

Outside of the 301, our existing BRT service is kind of disappointing in many ways:

  • The 302 does well during the peak (enough to warrant artics) but then ridership drops off so heavily during the off-peak that only shuttle buses are warranted. Not exactly a great display of what the future Green line can be.
  • The 305 has slowly seen decreasing headways and service hours. The main flaw with the 305 is its redundancy with the Route 1. They follow almost the exact same route (except at the ends) and the 305 only ever skips 1-3 stops so the time savings isn't very huge. I've been taking the 305 since it was created in 2008 and it's very evident that most people tend to take the bus that comes first. It's a game of leap-bus every day between the 1 and 305s.
  • The current 306 is essentially one chunk of the South Crosstown but headways today aren't that great and there is also some redundancy between a few local routes like the 20 or 72/73 which come much more frequently than the 306. The plan is for 10 minute peak service for the South Crosstown. Apparently, such headways aren't warranted today and just extending the route down to Douglasdale isn't going to magically attract ridership all of a sudden so there's going to have to be changes made for it to work.

Overall, it'll be interesting to see what kind of changes are in the works to encourage better use of the BRT's over local routes. The fact that we're getting "stations" built with things like real time displays should help with making them stand out more than just a regular bus. The 17 Ave SE BRT is getting its own dedicated transitway, the first of its kind in the city, which should help give it more of an LRT feel. Advertising and branding can play a crucial role in getting more people aware of these upcoming services. Our primary system map (like the ones you find on the train) should include the two LRT lines as well as the BRT routes and their transfer points.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Transit Fan said:

It's great to hear that this is the case! Along with your comment from the bus pullout thread about there being a big change up coming in 2018, it has me excited for what's in store.

Outside of the 301, our existing BRT service is kind of disappointing in many ways:

  • The 302 does well during the peak (enough to warrant artics) but then ridership drops off so heavily during the off-peak that only shuttle buses are warranted. Not exactly a great display of what the future Green line can be.
  • The 305 has slowly seen decreasing headways and service hours. The main flaw with the 305 is its redundancy with the Route 1. They follow almost the exact same route (except at the ends) and the 305 only ever skips 1-3 stops so the time savings isn't very huge. I've been taking the 305 since it was created in 2008 and it's very evident that most people tend to take the bus that comes first. It's a game of leap-bus every day between the 1 and 305s.
  • The current 306 is essentially one chunk of the South Crosstown but headways today aren't that great and there is also some redundancy between a few local routes like the 20 or 72/73 which come much more frequently than the 306. The plan is for 10 minute peak service for the South Crosstown. Apparently, such headways aren't warranted today and just extending the route down to Douglasdale isn't going to magically attract ridership all of a sudden so there's going to have to be changes made for it to work.

Overall, it'll be interesting to see what kind of changes are in the works to encourage better use of the BRT's over local routes. The fact that we're getting "stations" built with things like real time displays should help with making them stand out more than just a regular bus. The 17 Ave SE BRT is getting its own dedicated transitway, the first of its kind in the city, which should help give it more of an LRT feel. Advertising and branding can play a crucial role in getting more people aware of these upcoming services. Our primary system map (like the ones you find on the train) should include the two LRT lines as well as the BRT routes and their transfer points.

 

 

I find with the 302 there simply isn't enough ridership outside rush hour in the areas it mainly serves, namely the industrial parks. The routing around Quarry Park definitely kills time off each trip, and there are far too many stops along the route. This is mostly due to the fact there aren't any other routes in certain areas, such as Quarry Park. The city also said the bus only road (also cheaply built in my opinion) between 122 and 126 avenues saves time on the route, when in reality it actually adds time. What I find works with the 301 is that it makes semi-regular stops until it meets up with the 3, then it makes minimal stops. If they could do that with the 24 somehow, I'm sure that would encourage people to take the 302.

 

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8 hours ago, Blake M said:

I find with the 302 there simply isn't enough ridership outside rush hour in the areas it mainly serves, namely the industrial parks. The routing around Quarry Park definitely kills time off each trip, and there are far too many stops along the route. This is mostly due to the fact there aren't any other routes in certain areas, such as Quarry Park. The city also said the bus only road (also cheaply built in my opinion) between 122 and 126 avenues saves time on the route, when in reality it actually adds time. What I find works with the 301 is that it makes semi-regular stops until it meets up with the 3, then it makes minimal stops. If they could do that with the 24 somehow, I'm sure that would encourage people to take the 302.

 

The city's assumption that the 302 is quiet enough offpeak to only need community shuttles isn't entirely right. I don't catch it often, but half of the time when I do, heading SE from downtown offpeak, the shuttle bus is full. I don't know how long it stays full after Inglewood and Crossroads, though

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My wife and I ride it on a regular basis, usually a fully seated load with a couple standing sometimes midday weekday

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13 hours ago, vicinity said:

My wife and I ride it on a regular basis, usually a fully seated load with a couple standing sometimes midday weekday

In comparison in the 301 though, not too many people are on it, and I think that's simply because of the areas it travels through immediately after downtown. For instance, if you catch the 301 north of downtown at 7am on a Sunday, there could be a dozen people on the bus. If you catch the 302 South of downtown at the same time, it will be empty. The 301 is going towards many open businesses, whereas the 302 is going towards closed warehouses. I don't at all disagree the 302 shouldn't be shuttle at many times outside rush hour, but if they want to maximize the potential riders, they need to simplify the route/stops and try something similar to the 3/301 because that seems to be working in my opinion

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4 hours ago, Blake M said:

they need to simplify the route/stops and try something similar to the 3/301 because that seems to be working in my opinion

Like what for example?

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3 hours ago, Nick B said:

Like what for example?

Oh what I meant was when the 3 and 301 leave downtown, the 301 only makes a few stops until the 3 turns off Centre Street, then it makes a a couple extra stops. It works because when the density increases on Centre Street they can run a local/express arrangement

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C10 hours ago, Blake M said:

In comparison in the 301 though, not too many people are on it, and I think that's simply because of the areas it travels through immediately after downtown. For instance, if you catch the 301 north of downtown at 7am on a Sunday, there could be a dozen people on the bus. If you catch the 302 South of downtown at the same time, it will be empty. The 301 is going towards many open businesses, whereas the 302 is going towards closed warehouses. I don't at all disagree the 302 shouldn't be shuttle at many times outside rush hour, but if they want to maximize the potential riders, they need to simplify the route/stops and try something similar to the 3/301 because that seems to be working in my opinion

 

2 hours ago, Blake M said:

Oh what I meant was when the 3 and 301 leave downtown, the 301 only makes a few stops until the 3 turns off Centre Street, then it makes a a couple extra stops. It works because when the density increases on Centre Street they can run a local/express arrangement

I am not going to defend the 302 in any way. I spent many years signed up on it and saw the decline in ridership throughout my career. I know there are multiple reasons as to why ridership as dropped. A couple of them have been fixed. A couple of them can't be fixed.

 

I will give my reasons as to why what they have is likely the best available option to them when if/when you respond to my next question because I'm pretty sure that the things that make a route "simplified" from an outsider point of view are really the things that hurt a routing the most. but do you care to share any suggestions as to how the routing should be amended?

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6 minutes ago, Gsgeek540 said:

 

I am not going to defend the 302 in any way. I spent many years signed up on it and saw the decline in ridership throughout my career. I know there are multiple reasons as to why ridership as dropped. A couple of them have been fixed. A couple of them can't be fixed.

 

I will give my reasons as to why what they have is likely the best available option to them when if/when you respond to my next question because I'm pretty sure that the things that make a route "simplified" from an outsider point of view are really the things that hurt a routing the most. but do you care to share any suggestions as to how the routing should be amended?

Sure. I personally think it should've started as a regular, local route. All the office buildings that are being built now south of Glenmore Trail weren't even there in 2009. They've had to add so many stops to the route, it slows down the bus significantly, but they have to have those stops otherwise some areas simply will not get bus service or they won't ride the 302. I mostly use Quarry Park as an example because the only other convenient service in the area is the 136, which doesn't run outside rush hour. In fact, I remember in 2009 it only had six trips a day. Would you rather spend 25 minutes getting to Chinook, or 30 minutes getting downtown? Most would then take the 302. But if there aren't stops, people won't ride it. Another issue I find is the lack of other services too. With the 301, at North Pointe alone, there are 7 connecting buses. At 78 Avenue, there are 5 feeder routes. At other stops, there are other buses to take you to various locations. That's why the 301 works, it takes you directly between those buses and then downtown. A 301 trip, North Pointe to downtown, is 25-30 minutes. A 302 trip, South Hospital to downtown, is 60-70 minutes. I do acknowledge the distance to Seton is more than it is to North Pointe, however, I used to take the 302 south to McKenzie Towne in the morning rush and north in the afternoon rush. So many times it would sit and wait at time points that were completely useless, which led to you missing, say, the 73 to Foothills, or the 153 into Copperfield, or whatever else. My original point though, those buses I named alone go to the train. The train is on a 10 minute frequency, the 302 is on a pathetic 26 minute frequency. The train runs north until 12:30am, the 302 runs North until 9pm. Why on Earth would I bother with the 302 unless I live/work immediately beside the stop? 

 

So yeah that was kinda a summary of the issues I have with the 302, and I didn't even mention how the city royally screwed up the 92/96 in 2009.

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You gotta keep in mind that the 301 is so successful because for much of North Central Calgary, the 301 is essentially their equivalent of an LRT line.

The thing with the 302 and the deep SE area in general is that almost all the feeder buses there feed into the Red line LRT. During the off-peak/weekends, people have the choice of the 302 every 26 mins or the Red line every 10 mins. The Red line also isn't as packed during the off-peak. Unless you're living within walking distance to a 302 stop, having to rely on a good connection between your feeder bus and the 302 means that the train will be a safer transfer for most people. I'm just making a guess here but the fact that they decided to go from a 30 minute to 26 minute frequency indicates that transfers to/from the 302 isn't a very big priority.

You could argue that they could increase the off-peak frequencies but then I think a lot of buses would be quite empty. Since much of the route is through the industrial areas means ridership isn't going to be very high outside of commuting times. With the addition of the South Crosstown BRT, I wouldn't be surprised if we eventually see more buses feeding into the Douglasglen terminal to encourage connections to that service.

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10 minutes ago, Transit Fan said:

You gotta keep in mind that the 301 is so successful because for much of North Central Calgary, the 301 is essentially their equivalent of an LRT line.

The thing with the 302 and the deep SE area in general is that almost all the feeder buses there feed into the Red line LRT. During the off-peak/weekends, people have the choice of the 302 every 26 mins or the Red line every 10 mins. The Red line also isn't as packed during the off-peak. Unless you're living within walking distance to a 302 stop, having to rely on a good connection between your feeder bus and the 302 means that the train will be a safer transfer for most people. I'm just making a guess here but the fact that they decided to go from a 30 minute to 26 minute frequency indicates that transfers to/from the 302 isn't a very big priority.

You could argue that they could increase the off-peak frequencies but then I think a lot of buses would be quite empty. Since much of the route is through the industrial areas means ridership isn't going to be very high outside of commuting times. With the addition of the South Crosstown BRT, I wouldn't be surprised if we eventually see more buses feeding into the Douglasglen terminal to encourage connections to that service.

It almost won't matter if more buses go to Douglas Glen because the frequencies never match up. The 302 every 26 minutes, the South Crosstown say every 30 minutes, the 92/96/409 every 40 minutes. 

Also isn't the 302 SUPPOSED to be the equivalent of an LRT (I use "supposed" lightly)

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34 minutes ago, Blake M said:

Also isn't the 302 SUPPOSED to be the equivalent of an LRT (I use "supposed" lightly)

In theory, every BRT route serves the same general purpose as the LRT lines, which is providing a backbone service. However, you can only have so much transit service in this city. When it comes down to it, not many Calgarians choose transit (compared to other urban centres in Canada) due to the design of the city in general. They could make the BRT as frequent as they want, but the extra buses will end up being quite empty, due to various factors including the overall design of the SE quadrant as well as the proximity of the highly efficient South LRT line. While it is true that providing better service can attract more riders and thus raise ridership, it can very often be difficult to strike that balance. 

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1 minute ago, Nick B said:

In theory, every BRT route serves the same purpose as the LRT lines (providing a backbone service), though you can only have so much transit service in this city. When it comes down to it, not many people in Calgary choose transit due to the design of the city in general. They could make the BRT as frequent as they want, but the extra buses will end up being quite empty, due to various factors including the overall design of the SE quadrant as well as the proximity of the highly efficient South LRT line. While it is true that providing better service attracts more riders and thus raises ridership, it can very often be difficult to strike that balance. 

I do think that by the time the southeast LRT line is completed it will be more of a relief line for the South LRT line

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Anyone have any ideas (or know for a fact) how they're gonna go about branding these new routes?

Route #'s

For the new routes like North Crosstown and Southwest BRT, they'll probably be route number's in the 300's since they're BRT routes. But will things like the 305 and 306 keep their numbers for the 17 Ave and South Crosstown routes?

Station Names

Since each station is supposed to have one of those red/white pillars with a station name on it,  how are station names are gonna work?

I'd assume they're just going to be named after a nearby major destination (facility, LRT station, etc.) or the cross street if none exists. Not sure community names like with LRT station names would work since stop spacing is a lot closer in some cases. This probably means we'd be getting new on-board announcements for all the station names.

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32 minutes ago, Chinese Daniel said:

So do you think CT will have new  livery for the bus, those bus only use for BRT?

No there won't be

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On 9/8/2017 at 8:20 AM, Transit Fan said:

Anyone have any ideas (or know for a fact) how they're gonna go about branding these new routes?

Route #'s

For the new routes like North Crosstown and Southwest BRT, they'll probably be route number's in the 300's since they're BRT routes. But will things like the 305 and 306 keep their numbers for the 17 Ave and South Crosstown routes?

They were numbered in the 300s the last I saw - and yep, the 305 and 306 would simply become the new 17 Ave SE and South Crosstown routes respectively. 303 North Crosstown. But these very well could just be placeholders so I wouldn't read into it too much at this point.

Since the new BRT amenities parallel the CTrain, I'd love to see colours being used for their line names.

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59 minutes ago, 1604 said:

They were numbered in the 300s the last I saw - and yep, the 305 and 306 would simply become the new 17 Ave SE and South Crosstown routes respectively. 303 North Crosstown. But these very well could just be placeholders so I wouldn't read into it too much at this point.

Since the new BRT amenities parallel the CTrain, I'd love to see colours being used for their line names.

Like the VIVA?

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