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Jova42R

Central New Jersey BRT Proposal

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These look like good coverage routes but I wouldn't classify anything as BRT. The investment in creating a true BRT is not necessary unless the routes are truly heavily patronized which probably won't happen.... Now if these were traditional local routes, that certainly could qualify.

The 616R looks an awful lot like the existing 600 except that it ends at Princeton Junction and doesn't have the little diversions to malls. Although those diversions slow the bus down, they're good ridership generators and having an express version of the 600 completely bypass such ridership generators wouldn't be doing your 616R many favors. And in general creating limited-stop versions of existing routes is only really successful is if the base route has high ridership and very frequent service. Creating the 616R (and presumably running the 600 local to serve the stops the 616R BRT wouldn't serve) would lead to simultaneous service cuts on the 600 to avoid oversaturating the US-1 with buses, which leads to poorer service to the ridership generating malls which just leads to dissatisfied riders, loss of potential customers, and/or crush loads. FWIW, it looks like the 616R is mainly targeted at people looking to go between towns, and at that point they might as well just board the NEC and ride to Princeton. Now I can see the argument for an alternative bus service to the railroad being that the bus would be cheaper than the railroad/it provides more *specific* town-to-town travel as opposed to the three or so stops (Whatever it is) from Trenton to Princeton Jct (Inclusive), and unless there is some massive untapped ridership base between Princeton and Trenton that cannot be solved by getting on the train, I would say the personnel and equipment resources are better used elsewhere, especially given the litany of issues NJT has on more *pressing* issues. I suppose to meet you in the middle, a non-BRT version of the 616R (Say a 600X) which makes limited stops to speed up the trip is possible, but even then there needs to be either a demonstrated or potential for need.

The 614R looks more plausible since it's not directly duplicating a bus like the 616R. That said there isn't a whole lot along the 1 around there.. I suppose it could get some riders serving the various stores along the 1/it could supplement the CUSA routes already up on the NJ-27 (Which is more conducive to buses IMO considering it runs through towns  and downtown-like areas instead of medium density commercial space) running from Princeton to NB and onward to NYC but if it were to exist it wouldn't be anywhere close to a BRT, rather something like a small local route.

I have no idea what to say about the 615 and 617 since I have no idea if there's a market for such a route. Honestly they look a lot like coverage routes which is *fine* I guess but ultimately running a coverage bus without an obvious potential or existing ridership base is not really productive. The fact that the 605 only goes about  a third of the way to Somerville and the Somerset County route only goes about of the third of the way to Princeton lends me to believe that both agencies don't see a need to go that far. If you know of some commuting or shopping need to run the routes then I can see a justification for those as local routes (not BRT). The idea of "build it and then the people will come" is often used as a justification for such proposals, but there is never a guarantee and until NJ Transit has the resources to throw around trial routes with a full-scale schedule, I would argue is you would need to have a reason to create such a route.

A small note on the routings btw:

  • I wouldn't run the 616 all the way to trenton mercer airport, that has the potential to become dead mileage. The airport isn't terribly busy and honestly you can just create a spur of the 607 there and then connect it with the Trenton Transit Center. Honestly just terminate it at the TC or at the most terminate it at Calhoun
  • I would run the 614R off of the US-1 at around Milltown Road and have it serve Livingston Avenue or Georges Road instead of running it on the highway further. Creates more potential ridership generators and it makes the route more convenient to locals so they don't have to ride to the RR station to get to the 614R
  • I would loop the 617 into Somerville as well as Raritan so you get it into a downtown like area to attract shoppers more/bring it nearer to more potential riders

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@Orion6025:

The 616R REPLACES the 600. Keep in mind: this is BRT, there are stations in the middle of the road, you can’t have diversions to malls. It goes to TTN Airport because that would become an intermodal terminal under this plan, with SEPTA service being extended one stop, and the BRT.

The 615R and 617R would serve the MASSIVLEY underserved rt33 and rt206 corridors. What would be the best way to get the 617 to Sommerville?

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6 hours ago, Jova42R said:

Keep in mind: this is BRT, there are stations in the middle of the road, you can’t have diversions to malls

See you’re illustrating one of the problems that i was getting at. That corridor does not have high enough ridership to justify such a high investment cost to build stations. And taking the bus out of malls is only going to further reduce ridership, making the cost of converting it to a BRT even more unnecessary. Honestly i’d much rather keep the 600 than implement a 616 that basically becomes a slower version of the NEC line

6 hours ago, Jova42R said:

The 615R and 617R would serve the MASSIVLEY underserved rt33 and rt206 corridors.

Can you substantiate the need to serve a corridor? Any road can be underserved but sometimes there’s a reason for that (namely, the market isn’t there). Basically what i am getting at is can you either point out at least one distinct reason - ridership/commuting patterns and data, key employment draws, community or government led initiatives, central NJ transit studies - that justify running a bus up said road. Transit is extremely hard to deploy is lower density areas like central NJ beyond creating simple neighborhood to rail commuter shuttles. Outside of commuting, travel patterns will vary massively and the low density nature of central NJ makes pickups, for instance, extremely difficult. I would argue creating a demand-response route would be much more effective than a BRT. Such routes are better suited to serve low density areas by being more responsive to more specific pickup points (it’s a lot harder to get people to walk 1 mile to ride a fixed route -at that point you might as well drive-, when you can instead have a route whose routing fluctuates based on daily demand, and is much more able to best serve a large area with quite frankly few riders receptive to using transit for non-commuting reasons.

6 hours ago, Jova42R said:

The 616R REPLACES the 600

Please write this down in your proposal beforehand then. You type this like I’m supposed to see that in your proposal but it is not written down in your doc or your map. And if perhaps you originally thought this and assumed that I would infer it from your map, i can’t read your mind..

6 hours ago, Jova42R said:

It goes to TTN Airport because that would become an intermodal terminal under this plan, with SEPTA service being extended one stop, and the BRT.

This would also have been useful to know.. Any thorough proposal specifically points out the important places the proposed route serves because that goes a *long* way in justifying why a route should be created (especially an intermodal terminal).. anyway, i’m gonna be honest I have no idea *why* you would need an intermodal terminal at trenton mercer when there’s a perfectly fine one at the NJT/SEPTA/Amtrak trenton rail-bus station which is *far* more useful and better connected than any terminal at the airport would be. Frankly, leaving the intermodal terminal at the rail station would be far cheaper than building a more inconvenient, and poorly connected terminal outside of the city center...

I’m going to be completely honest here: i can’t read your mind or your thought process but a lot of these replies seem like things you made up on the spin of a dime to either

a.) Try and invalidate any criticism by just making something on the spot

b.) Take the criticism and then come up with some new thing to suddenly try and breathe new justification to leave the route *exactly* as proposed and not change anything

You don’t simply forget or leave out something as fundamental as noting that one route replaces the other, or something as important as serving a future high-traffic intermodal terminal when creating a route.

Now this is not say you *have* to change anything; these are just suggestions/comments. But honestly there’s something fishy going on..

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