As part of its current budget proposal, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Los Angeles County is planning to add eight more “Metro Rapid” bus rapid transit routes to the 20 that will already be in operation by later this month. The LA Times reports. If you’re someone at all inclined to take the bus to and from work once or more a week, see how this sounds.
Service on the Metro Rapid Program, implemented in June 2000, is 25% faster than regular service because the buses make fewer stops and run every three to 10 minutes during peak travel times, the MTA says. Also, the Rapid buses have equipment that extends green lights or changes red lights 10 seconds faster. By June 2008, 500 Metro Rapid buses, up from 359, will serve 28 transit corridors covering 420 route miles and 35 cities throughout the county.
More here on what makes Metro Rapid rapid. One additional factor is “low floor,” near ground-level entrances; rather than the usual several steps. That’s part of a larger Metro Rapid emphasis on cutting the amount of time that buses are stopped – either for passenger ingress and egress, or traffic signals.
In the central city-suburban core of the Seattle region, King County Metro, which operates a bus system and wastewater treatment facilities, is planning to initiate five bus rapid transit “RapidRide” routes as part of the “Transit Now” package approved by voters last fall. This map shows the routes. Metro says RapidRide service will include increased frequency, new buses, upgraded passenger waiting areas, and technology to synchronize traffic signals.
A clear and publicly-stated emphasis on fewer stops, enablement of faster boarding, and specific pledges of reduced travel times – as in LA – would be helpful, and increase public interest in the planned RapidRide routes. It would also be good to see King County Metro gather and make easily available online information on which among all current routes have the highest and lowest riderships. This could help guide decisions on re-allocating existing funding to additional, selected RapidRide routes.
Ridership data made easily available to the public online should include average and peak hour load factors (percentage of seats filled) for the given routes, and the system-wide average and peak load factors. Where a route’s load factor continues running significantly below the system-wide average even at peak hours, that route should be cut, and the savings funneled into expansion of “best practices” rapid bus service on high-capacity transit corridors.
RELATED: “Fewer Bus Routes, More Frequency.”
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