Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Virginia Beach's BRT experiment

In two years Virginia Beach will unveil a new bus rapid transit system - six miles of dedicated lanes, 31 stops and 18 extra-large buses - that will replace the city's existing trolley service, says today's Virginian-Pilot. The new transit system will connect the oceanfront to the city's new $200 million convention center, and have stops at the Lynnhaven Mall and the Virginia Beach Town Center.

The city's consultant thinks the system, if it runs year round, could nearly double the ridership of the trolley system, which runs from May to September and carries about 421,000 people a year.

Backers of bus rapid transit are still pushing it as an alternative to the planned extension of Metrorail to Dulles. Bill Vincent of Breakthrough Technologies, a nonprofit that backs BRT, says it would work better than light rail in congested Tysons Corner. "We have a problem that is beyond Metro's ability to solve," said Vincent at a recent community meeting in McLean.

5 Comments:

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

If BRT needs dedicated lanes then two questions arise.

1) Even if the system doubles the ridership of the existing service, can eighteen buses provide the same level of convenience and total transport capacity that the lanes would provide alone?

2) Is the purpose of the system to alleviate congestion or increase the business density? If the former, does it work, if the latter, who is paying for it?

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger Bob Burke said...

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At 3:20 PM, Blogger Bob Burke said...

If we assume that the dedicated lanes could carry the same 800,000 or so people annually that might otherwise ride the BRT, where would they all park? The oceanfront space that would be needed for parking without a transit system is likely better used by the private sector.

 
At 8:16 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

Good point with respect to Virginia Beach where space is strictly limited. And because of the special nature of the beach, "everyone" can avail themselves of the additional access, so sharing the cost beyond the business community which is the primary beneficiary might seem reasonable. What should the cost share be?

Isn't the normal carrying capacity of a lane something like 200 an hour? BRT ridership counts the trip in and the trip out separately, no?

 
At 9:01 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

One good feature of BRT is that, if it doesn't work out, at least you still have the new lanes.

 

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