At Mondays Town Hall meeting, Mayor John Peyton and JTA spokesman Mike Miller suggested we take a look at Pittsburgh and Ottawa for successful examples of BRT. They also stated that they favor BRT because its more affordable than rail transit. However, there is a lot of information available that proves otherwise.
PITTSBURGH & OTTAWA BRT: WHAT THEY WONT TELL YOU
While Bus Rapid Transit supporters point to busways in Pittsburgh and Ottawa as successful, they wont tell you that those systems would cost more than $50 million a mile to build today.
Also, when Ottawas system was constructed, ridership actually declined, partially due to the downtown congestion they created with hundreds of BRT buses clogging the streets with regular traffic. Ironically, Ottawas BRT ridership has increased since then because of a newly constructed rail line that feeds passengers into the busway. Pittsburghs system has also had its struggles as well.
Please dont take Metro Jacksonvilles word for it, click on the links for proof:
Bus Rapid Transit - Not for New Jersey
Ottawa (Finally) Opts for Light Rail
BUS RAPID TRANSIT CHEAPER THAN COMMUTER RAIL: LOOK AGAIN!
During Mayor Peyton's (former board member of the JTA) response, it was reveled that he did not know the difference between commuter and light rail. While he was right in stating that light rail would cost more than Bus Rapid Transit, new urban commuter rail systems are half the cost of Bus Rapid Transit.
|Capitol Metro||Austin||1.45 million||32 miles||$90 million||$2.8 million|
|Music City Star||Nashville||1.42 million||32 miles||$40 million||$1.25 million|
|Northstar||Minneapolis||3.14 million||40 miles||$307 million||$7.68 million|
|Rail Runner||Albuquerque||797,940||51 miles||$135 million||$2.65 million|
|Sprinter**||San Diego**||2.93 million||22 miles**||$375 million**||$17 million**|
|JTA BRT||Jacksonville||1.25 million||29 miles||$611 million||$21.1 million|
** - San Diegos proposed system includes removing existing freight rail, raising the lines elevation, and then building a new 22 mile double tracked line.
Again, dont take our word for it. These links will take you directly to their commuter rail websites:
This documentary draws lessons from other cities' transit expansion projects that should be applied to Baltimore's planning process.
Commuter rail is cheaper than BRT because it uses existing rail lines, saving millions that would normally go towards land acquisition and construction of infrastructure. It is clear that JTAs BRT studies focused on light rail and not commuter rail. At the very least, good leadership should seriously examine commuter rail and its benefits, considering it is half the cost of BRT and we are in a budget crisis.
For more in depth analysis of BRT & Commuter Rail in Jacksonville visit:
Metro Jacksonvilles BRT vs. Commuter Rail study
This video showcases the 10th anniversary of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Light Rail system.
Although this is a light rail system and not urban commuter rail, it emphasizes the massive success cities are having with rail transit. Unfortunately, it also emphasizes how far behind Jacksonville will be in 30 years with only bus rapid transit system.
The following video shows Toronto's Bus Rapid Transit interfacing with automobile traffic. Look Familiar? It should. JTA operates buses all over Jacksonville in this manner everyday.
One Toronto BRT commuter, after watching this video, commented, "I hate Viva (Toronto BRT). Look at the video, its not faster..YRT (regular bus) is right behind it. And they increased the fare to $2.50! Boycott VIVA"