Bus Rapid Transit
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a bus system where buses run on exclusive right of way, transit way or mixed traffic. BRT makes limited stops in order to reduce the traveling time. Some BRT systems are equipped with the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). ITS make transit service more reliable and makes passengers' life easier. For example, if a bus is behind schedule, the green light will be held or a red light will turn green. This allows the bus to get back on schedule. Some BRT systems such as Viva have electronic display signs at each stop to tell the passengers when the next bus will arrive through the global positioning system. BRT stops can range from a simple stop with basic shelter to a bus terminal with many amenities such as comfortable waiting areas. BRT uses a wide range of vehicles. They tend to have multiple doors to allow rapid boarding and leaving. The exterior and interior of the BRT buses are unique in order to give a good impression to the riders.
Advantages of BRT
The capital cost and operation cost of BRT is cheaper than light rail service. A recent report by General Accounting Office (GAO) reported BRTs capital cost is equivalent to 2% of the light rail capital cost. GAO also reported Denver Bus Lines have lower cost than the Denver’s light rail by 80%. It is because they do not need as many infrastructures (i.e. rails, overhead wires, et cetera) as the light rail and the cost of a bus is cheaper than a train. BRT can be implemented anywhere within a short period of time. It can be installed quickly where as light rail requires years of construction. BRT system can be phased. BRT system can be used as an interim system for a light rail network or subway. Most BRT bus routes run on a High Occupancy Lane (HOV), bus lane or transitway. Those roads allow the buses to travel at a higher speed. Thus reduce the traveling time and bypass congestion. In some BRT systems, the buses have traffic signal priority. In order to speed up the boarding process, BRT requires passengers to pay in advance before boarding the buses. Passengers on the BRT system can travel a long distance without transferring to another bus or train.
Disadvantages of BRT
Availability of property is a major issue. In order to provide a fast reliable bus service, an exclusive right of way is needed. BRT systems have fewer stops which means the bus stops are more spread out. This may discourage some riders from taking public transit, and some people have the perception that only low-income people take buses.