Sunday, July 17, 2005

Charlottesville's Bus Alternative

If you're going to get people out of their cars - and thus reduce congestion - then you've got to give them alternatives that work. Charlottesville is trying to do just that with its bus transit service, says a Daily Progress story.

It's about to launch an effort to improve and expand the offerings by adding buses and routes, building a new Transit Center next year. The system is expected to get about 1.3 million riders this year, but most are 'captive riders' who don't have an alternative. It's the 'choice riders' the system needs to attract.

The city's also in the midst of a three-year effort to synchronize the 70 traffic lights in the city to smooth traffic flow. And the new traffic lights, according to the article, will be able to receive signals from approaching buses and keep the lights green or yellow until the bus passes through the intersection.

Now that sounds like the kind of change that would attract some 'choice riders.' The new buses the system is adding also have built-in GPS devices that one day could be used to transmit arrival times to bus stops.

4 Comments:

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Will Vehrs said...

If squirrels are rats with better PR, buses are the rats of the transportation system. I think buses are one of the best alternatives of many in assisting with our transportation problems, but somehow they've got to shed their bad image and figure out a way to appeal to the suburban commuter.

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger COD said...

Or, once realizing that the buses control the lights, impatient commuters will tailgate buses to follow them through the timed lights, creating a safety issue in the process.

 
At 4:55 PM, Blogger Bob Burke said...

I think Will's right - there may be a makeover coming for the bus alternative, if they can figure out a way to do what C'ville wants to do, which is make the option appealing those people who could, if they wanted, jump in their cars. So making buses the first-among-equals on the road seems like a sensible idea.

Plus, what about bus rapid transit? I still wonder how supporters of extending Metro rail could pass on that far less expensive option.

And to be honest I don't really think tailgating cars are going to be a problem. Sounds like a reason to bring back those intersection cameras and a hefty fine.

 
At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Paul said...

One way that Charlottesville has encouraged Bus use is by converting to old style "trolleys" that drive like buses but look like trolleys. I always delighted in jumping into one of those things...

Buses are very popular in Cville. Probably because many people have no other option...

 

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