Groundbreaking for Jax's Bus Rapid Transit on Monday

November 13, 2014 24 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

It's taken over a decade to reach this point. On Monday, November 17, 2014, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx will be in town for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority's First Coast Flyer bus rapid transit (BRT) system.

A Look At The Kansas City MAX

The JTA Flyer will be similar to the Kansas City MAX BRT system.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority implemented its first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line, called the Metro Area Express, or MAX, in July 2005.  MAX was an instant success, with ridership in this corridor increasing more than 50%.  While Kansas City's MAX line was not the first BRT line in the United States, its immediate success and affordable execution have garnered recognition across the country.  In fact, the Federal Transit Administration holds it up as a model BRT line.

MAX began operations in 2005 as a six-mile linear route linking the vibrant River Market, downtown, Union Station, Crown Center and Plaza.  In 2011, a second BRT line opened along Troost Avenue. In 2013, a third route opened along State Avenue, connecting Kansas City, MO with Kansas City, KS. Overall, the Max features 87 stations along its 32-miles of routes.

The outside lane of Kansas City's Main Street is reserved for the MAX buses and cars making right turns.

MAX features distinct characteristics that incorporate state of the art technology to deliver customers a high level of reliability, speed and comfort.  For instance, dedicated lanes help give MAX vehicles a rapid, smooth ride, and special traffic signalization holds a green light longer to keep MAX on schedule.  Limited stops mean that MAX can keep moving to key destinations.

Although the system has signal priority, many times buses can still get caught up in signal stacking situations.

Rail on rubber wheels?  The MAX pulls into the Country Club Plaza "station."

By design, a unique identity was created for MAX, including unique vehicles and easily identifiable "stations," not "stops."  Each station features an 18-foot marker that is well lit at night, serving as a beacon from blocks away.  The new, modern shelters were designed to provide protection from the elements with a roof that is 80% opaque, providing needed shade in the summer, yet allowing 20% of the light through to break the chill in the winter.  One of the most popular features of the stations is the real-time arrival signs.  Customers know exactly when the next MAX will arrive, taking the guesswork out of riding.

MAX at a Glance (Initial starter route)

- Runs 7 days a week

- 4:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.

- Buses arrive every 10 minutes at peak times

- 15-30 minutes most other times

- Plaza to Downtown in 18 minutes

- 3.75 miles of exclusive transit lanes

- 40 Stations

- 13 MAX vehicles featuring unique branding

- Cost: $21 million (80% federal, 20% local)

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