King County, Wash.’s new RapidRide Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service proves, once again, that when BRT replaces “regular” buses, riders will flock to it. The system’s A Line, which launched in the fall of 2010, covers an 11-mile stretch of southern King County. It is the first of six lines that will serve the greater Seattle region. In addition to three doors for easy passenger boarding; pay-before-you-board stations for ORCA regional transit card holders; and traffic signal prioritization – green lights stay green longer or red lights turn green faster as the bus nears an intersection – the line features roadway improvements such as high-occupancy vehicle lanes and dedicated lanes to keep buses moving, even in heavy traffic.
The A Line has been met with such overwhelming satisfaction that ridership and customer satisfaction has topped expectations. Ridership increased more than 30 percent over the “regular” route it replaced, and overall satisfaction with service on the corridor is at an all-time high, with 84 percent of riders giving the A Line positive reviews, compared to a 52 percent satisfaction rating on the previous route. The A Line scored high with passengers in several other areas, such as:
- 81 percent overall satisfaction with how long their bus trip takes.
- 83 percent satisfaction with how often buses run during peak hours.
- 88 to 90 percent satisfaction with Metro’s new hybrid-electric RapidRide vehicles and on-board features, such as free WiFi.
- 81 percent satisfied with the A Line getting them to their destination on time (RapidRide stations have electronic signs with real-time bus arrivals and schedule changes).
“These new findings confirm that people will leave their cars and take the bus if they are assured of reliable, frequent, and improved bus services and stations,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Within a matter of months, the A Line has proven how effective bus rapid transit can be."
RapidRide’s B Line debuted October 1, 2011, and travels between Bellevue and Redmond via Microsoft’s campus, connecting two of the biggest job centers in the Seattle region. Ridership on the B Line is expected to increase to 2.2 million riders by 2016, above the current ridership of just over one million passengers a year.
RapidRide is funded through King County’s 2006 voter-approved Transit Now sales tax increase. King County Metro Transit also received $80 million in federal and state grants for RapidRide. With a total budget of $200 million, all six RapidRide lines will be implemented by 2013. That includes $118 million for 113 new buses; $50 million for corridor and road work; and $35 million to build the stations and new facilities.
With even more evidence to back up our theory, MPC is reiterating its challenge: let’s do BRT in Chicago, and let’s get it right! Our BRT study, Bus Rapid Transit: Chicago's New Route to Opportunity released in August, highlighted the 10 best routes for BRT in the city, based upon 14 livability metrics, such as access to medical centers, food stores, and employment centers. The study demonstrates that gold standard BRT is entirely feasible for Chicago and would offer tremendous benefits for riders, support existing community assets, and fill accessibility gaps in the city’s current transit network.
The Sept. 16 edition of Talking Transit should have included Pace Suburban Bus Service’s Campus Connection, a discounted transit pass for students valid for unlimited rides on Pace buses and Call-n-Rides, every day of the week, at any time of the day. For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/oFOuLm
What's in it for employers offering transit benefits?
I recently attended the 2011 Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) conference, along with approximately 350 fellow North American colleagues in the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) field.
Is telework an option for your organization?
One of the employee commute solutions MPC recommends to employers participating in our Commute Options program is teleworking.
Chicago Transit Authority launches station renewal initiative
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool announced a new CTA station renewal initiative designed to provide a facelift to 100 CTA rail stations over the next 12 months.
A Walk in the Park: How Chicago Celebrated PARK(ing) Day 2011
Chicago’s skies provided little incentive to get outside for PARK(ing) Day, but ready and raring to advocate for green public space, organizations around Chicago were out on the street transforming everyday asphalt into creative temporary parks – and we were there to hear what these advocates had to say!
CTA sets stage for 2012 fare hike with big deficit announcement
With Tuesday's announcement of a $277 million deficit The CTA has set the stage for tougher union negotiations and an inevitable fare hike in 2012.
Transit union fights back against CTA budget claims
The head of the union representing Chicago Transit Authority rail workers says he doesn't believe union members are completely to blame for CTA budget problems.
Michigan gets grant to upgrade Detroit-Kalamazoo Amtrak
Federal authorities awarded a $196.5-million grant to Michigan transportation officials today for track and signal improvements on the Amtrak line between Detroit and Kalamazoo that will allow for train speeds of up to 110 miles per hour on most of the line. As a result, the trip from Detroit to Chicago on Amtrak’s Wolverine and Blue Water services will be cut by half an hour.
Residents drop keys for Car-Free Day
Evanston encouraged residents to put down the keys, step away from the vehicle and get moving at downtown's Car-Free Pit Stop as part of the 2011 Chicagoland Car-Free Day on Thursday.
The American Jobs Act: a Bridge to Somewhere!
Perhaps with the combination of the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s August jobs report showing no change in the 9.1 percent unemployment rate, and the tremors from last month’s Virginia Earthquake, Washington will finally give our nation’s failing infrastructure the attention it desperately needs, and our economy the confidence necessary for long-term growth.
Transit Tunnel Dispute Fueled Rancor Between Christie, Obama Administration
Late last week, New Jersey and the U.S. DOT settled a year-long tussle over a transit tunnel that was to run under the Hudson River from New Jersey to Manhattan, a project Christie pulled the plug on last year.
Study: Transit Ridership Up in 2011
Transit ridership increased by 85.7 million trips, or 1.7 percent nationwide, in the first six months of 2011, according to a report released today by the American Public Transit Association, the pro-transit lobbying group.
Selling Bike Commuting in Houston
As Houston city officials look at ways to relieve congestion on the freeways, they’re encouraged by figures from the League of American Biyclists showing a 62 percent jump in the number of bike commuters.
The crystal ball for mass transit in metropolitan Baltimore: decidedly murky
Every four years, the federal government mandates that the Baltimore region translate its long-range ideas for transportation into a plan that actually considers the anticipated funding over the next 20 years. The latest draft plan of the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board (BRTB) shows just how strange the clash between vision and reality can be.
Improved Bus Rapid Transit Service Comes to San Bernadino
An agreement to provide $75 million was reached between the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration to build a 16-mile rapid bus line running through the center of downtown San Bernardino, Calif.
Democrats in Congress question use of federal money to study privatizing Ohio Turnpike
A group of congressional Democrats led by Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles is questioning whether it’s proper for Ohio’s transportation department to use federal funds to explore privatizing the Ohio Turnpike.
Bus Bulbs Will Boost Nostrand Avenue Select Bus Service
Nostrand Avenue SBS will, as in the Bronx and Manhattan, create dedicated bus lanes enforced by automated cameras and use high-capacity buses and off-board fare payment. With fewer stops, the bus will also spend more time in motion and less time starting and stopping.
Congestion Pricing Works Best When Partnered With Land-Use Planning
What does it take to convince motorists to drive less -- and thereby reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions?
Shovel-Ready Series: How Much for Roads v. How Much for Transit?
We’ve looked at specific projects that the feds should get rolling in order to 1) create much-needed jobs now and 2) provide worthy long-term investment in American infrastructure.
Report: Public transportation reduces delays
Public transportation saved commuters millions of hours of delay and millions of gallons of gas during 2010, according to a new report from the College Station, Texas-based Texas Transportation Institute (TTI).
Car Sharing 2.0 Leaps Forward in Paris
An all-electric, point-to-point system could revolutionize how we think about the automobile and significantly reduce the need for private cars in our cities.
South Africa: How Decent Public Transport Can Strike a Blow to Poverty
These days, while cars dominate our roads, public transport is still critical for getting the workforce to and from work in order to avoid disruption to economic activity.
Road Pricing: The opposite of congestion pricing – and it works
How would you feel about being paid to NOT drive at peak times on a road that you drive on every day?
Tupperware chief: Global trade requires better infrastructure
The chief executive of Orlando-based Tupperware Brands Corp., speaking to area business leaders as part of Orlando International Airport's 30th anniversary, called for what he described as much-needed improvements to Orlando's and the nation's transportation infrastructure.
Borders to Edinburgh rail route ‘essential’ to economy
Infrastructure Secretary Alex Neil said the Scottish government was committed to finishing the project by late 2014. He described the railway line as an "essential part of the jigsaw" for the economic future of the region.
Upcoming Event: South Korea Hosts 2011 Sustainable Transportation Conference
EcoMobility Changwon 2011 is an event that will provide enriching perspectives on sustainable urban mobility. Through the expertise of renowned transportation professionals from around the globe, participants will be exposed to fruitful debates on mobility and the future of sustainable cities.