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Bus Is Better

August 18, 2015

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Give me one reason that you would prefer bus over rail, and I will give nine reasons why bus would probably trump any new rail project today.

So I took a transit pilgrimage just recently to a city where transit-friendly isn’t quite how you would describe this place.  However, when walking around (and I did a LOT of walking), I could say this is one of my most favorite cities to explore to date.  That city is….Las Vegas: Bus Rapid Transit City.

Surprisingly enough, Las Vegas has a very extensive BRT system that covers a vast land mass. Now while it’s no Bogota, nor the Health Line in Cleveland, the Express routes operated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) radiate out from Downtown Las Vegas in such a way that presents itself the way the Metra does from Chicago or MARTA from Atlanta, and so on. Features include everything you would see on a normal BRT line:

  • Level Platform Boarding
  • Traffic Signal Priority
  • Real-Time Information
  • Dedicated Travel Lanes
  • Pre-Boarding and On-Boarding Fare Collection
  • Multiple Vehicle entrances
  • Farther-spaced stations
  • On-board security
  • Separate Branding

I bring this up because some cities are investing in it, while others question it (cough..Cobb). It can create an alternative to traffic congestion just like light or heavy rail can, but you have to give it the amenities that both light and heavy rail have to make it work.  Destinations and commuter sheds are also important to fulfill the “it doesn’t go anywhere” sentiment, which can’t be said for that poor, empty monorail that Vegas has that didn’t even touch hardly anything. Finally, vehicle investment would set it apart from the rest of the transit pack.  Vegas has verrrrry sexy vehicles for their fleet that they almost looked like the limos that ran up and down the strip.

Needless to say, Las Vegas does pretty well without rail, and the stats prove it since most of these “routes” (plural) do run 24-hours a day. Name a non-NYC city that can say that…

F.Y.I. I still love rail. I just had an affair with a bus… #sincity

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