|We are not "Anti-Bus--We are
We have heard from a few people who say we are "anti-bus" because we openly promote the advantages of light rail. We are not anti-bus. However, we are "anti-busway" and "pro-mass transit."
We are not against buses in their proper place, and their proper place is not in the middle of a "fixed-guideway". The buses greatest advantage is its flexibility. It has the ability to go places rail cannot, and deliver people to scattered, low density areas that would be difficult to serve by rail. However, while on the busway the bus is no more flexible than light rail and far more inefficient. It takes five or six buses and five or six bus drivers to haul the same load that could be handled by one light rail operator running in two car light rail train.
That's a tremendous waste of labor, equipment and the taxpayer's dollars. the waste doesn't stop there, however. It's not enough that you need five or six times the number of vehicles to do the same job, you need to replace them approximately three times as often. Buses have about one-third the life span of a light rail vehicle, on the average.
This is still not the end of the story! Buses do not have the comfort and riding quality of light rail. They do not attract the riding public to the same degree as light rail.
The one advantage the bus has over light rail on a fixed-guideway is its ability to get off and serve local neighborhoods without the necessity of passengers changing vehicles to complete their trip. However this advantage is greatly outweighed by the many disadvantages mentioned above.
Why not let each mode of transit do what it does best? Light rail is best at hauling large volumes of people along a fixed-guideway. If that volume increases it can easily accommodate the increase without any additional manpower and with less expenditure for equipment. For example, two extra cars can be added to a two car light rail train, making it a four car train. One light rail operator is still the only operator required. If this were a busway, you would need 10 to 12 buses operated by 10 to 12 bus drivers to handle the same load. Does this make sense?
Buses do have an important place in any well run transit system. Many parts of the city and suburbs have areas where rail could not easily be built. Many areas are too lightly populated or scattered to make light rail feasible. At the public meetings on the various transit corridors many citizens spoke about the need for more cross-town routes to tie our transit system together and make it more user friendly. Buses will be the answer.
Of course light rail depends heavily on feeder buses to distribute riders to and from
its system. Without these feeders, light rail would simply not work well.
There is a place for buses. Our hope is that our transit officials will eventually
learn where that place is.