Comment 123095

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 22, 2018 at 09:05:55 in reply to Comment 123094

The "R" in LRT has always stood for "Rail". What makes it rapid transit is the high passenger capacity, short headways and dedicated corridor through the city.

Bus Rapid Transit is also an option, but this has already been studied extensively - we've been planning rapid transit actively for a decade.

The operating costs for BRT are much higher than for LRT. Buses can't carry as many passengers, so you need more vehicles and operators to support the same ridership. If we went with BRT instead of LRT, we would have less capacity to expand service up the mountain and across the city.

BRT also has a lower maximum ridership. The current bus service along this corridor already has very short headways and is plagued with regular "pass-bys" as overstuffed buses can't stop to pick up waiting passengers. There's a pretty hard limit to how many more buses you can add to this already-busy corridor.

In order to function as a rapid transit system, BRT needs to run in its own dedicated, physically separated lanes with stations where passengers pre-pay for faster boarding. Otherwise, it's just regular buses running in mixed traffic.

And with such heavy bus traffic, that means the road needs to be reconstructed to support the high axle weight of all those buses. Generally, BRT systems need to run on concrete roads, and the underground infrastructure needs to be renewed before laying the new roadway, so there is just as much construction disruption as there is with LRT.

BRT also has a poorer track record at attracting new riders and spurring new development than LRT, so we would miss out on significant opportunities to intensify the corridor and grow our municipal tax base.

Over 400 cities around the world have LRT systems and they work just fine. The technology is highly reliable, it runs in its own dedicated lane so it won't get stuck behind other vehicles, and the fact that it is fixed means it provides more confidence to investors, developers, businesses and residents that the city is making a long-term commitment in transit infrastructure.

All in all, LRT along this corridor provides a much bigger overall benefit to the city.

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