BRT! You may have gotten that three-letter acronym in a text message from someone who's on their way to where you are. However, in this case, it doesn't mean "be right there!" This article is all about the other BRT - the Bus Rapid Transit program - and how you can offer your opinion on the next big improvement in Phoenix's public transit system.
Bus Rapid Transit aims to boost mass transit efficiency along certain major routes. It'll use specialized buses that will be able to carry up to 150 passengers. Whereas our current RAPID or Express bus service is mainly aimed at commuters during the morning and afternoon rush hours, the BRT will run throughout the day, servicing stations every ten minutes or so. "As a new transit option for Phoenix,” stated Sara Kotecki, the Bus Rapid Transit Administrator for the Phoenix Public Transit Department, “BRT will improve transit speed, reliability and overall rider experience."
There will be a few adjustments along the BRT route to make the system work smoothly. For instance, there may be a "queue jump" light added to traffic signals. The light will give the BRT bus a head start on green lights so that time isn't spent waiting for an opening in traffic to pull the bus out of a station. There may also be technology that will allow buses to "request" traffic lights to stay green or turn green early, allowing the bus to get through traffic more easily.
Bus stations along the BRT system will also be upgraded. Much like light rail stations, the BRT stations will have level boarding, which will make it easy to get on or off the vehicle, especially for riders who are in wheelchairs. The stations may have fare validators, shelters and seating, and real-time information that will let you know when the next bus will come around.
There are six candidates for BRT corridors:
• Camelback Road between 75th Avenue and a PHX Sky Train station on 24th Street.
• Indian School Road between 75th Avenue and a PHX Sky Train station on 24th Street.
• Thomas Road between 75th Avenue and a PHX Sky Train station on 44th Street.
• McDowell Road between 35th Avenue to a PHX Sky Train station on 44th Street.
• 35th Avenue from Metrocenter to Van Buren Street, then east to Central Avenue.
• From Rio Salado College North to 19th Avenue, south to Van Buren Street, then east to Central Avenue.
The city of Phoenix is currently getting opinions from the public on the project. “This program will be developed based on where current and future transit ridership shows the most need and with lots of community input,” said Kotecki. She also remarked that there's already been valuable feedback on items including economic development opportunities, connections to other transit services, and art and branding elements.
For more information on BRT, check out this YouTube video.
Would you like to give your opinion on BRT? There's going to be an online meeting on December 18. You can sign up for the meeting by clicking here or taking this survey. With input from the community, BRT planners will have the information they need to decide where to place the next big improvement to Phoenix's mass transit system!