By Sanford Weinberg
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a low-cost transit solution that can move large numbers of riders at a fraction of the cost of expensive subway and light rail systems. BRT, whether it is in dedicated right-of-way lanes or in mixed traffic, has proven to be the most successful new form of public transport in decades.
If a transit agency is considering implementing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), these tips will aid in a successful implementation:
1. Make the right upfront investments: BRT belongs in corridors that already have the highest transit ridership. Transit managers know that adding frequency is a much better business decision than providing more coverage. By investing in winning transit options, agencies will gain more ridership, increase the loyalty of existing riders and grow new revenue.
2. Know your riders: No consumer likes change, so transit managers should not second guess their riders. Learn their transportation needs, pick-up hours, frequencies, delays, much more than amenities and boarding. The system’s reliability is the most critical issue for your riders.
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3. Create flexibility: The fare collection system that you choose to incorporate into the BRT must be flexible for future needs. Often riders or operations need change, so it’s important that fare collection can adapt to new business rules, and provide seamless travel across all modes of service being operated.
4. Information is king: Keep riders informed of delays, when the next bus will arrive, any schedule changes, and more. Real-time information at stations is important, but smartphone applications have become the “king” of real-time information everywhere in the world. Analytics are also critical for the correct management and implementation of the BRT system. This allows better fleet management that translates into benefits on end users.
5. Access and dependability: Remember, the first and last mile, so support riders with way-finding signs and interactive kiosks on platforms that guide riders to local attractions.
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(Editor’s Note: This article has been excerpted from “Public transit’s secret weapon: BRT,” which was first published in Mass Transit, a magazine dedicated to public transportation.)