With the rollout of regional transit plans in our area, we can see that Wake County plans 20 miles of bus rapid transit (BRT) routes. Here in Orange County, we have an 8 mile BRT route planned in additional to a proposed 18 mile light rail line connecting Durham and Chapel Hill. Should we deploy BRT as the anchor of our transit network and replace the Durham Orange Light Rail line with BRT?
First, a bit about BRT. It takes many of the things that make riding light rail transit (LRT) attractive, but uses diesel buses in dedicated exclusive roadways instead of electric rail cars on tracks. A true BRT system has stations with shelters and raised platforms like LRT. Fares are paid in advance to speed loading and buses come at regular intervals. Most importantly, a true BRT system has its own exclusive roadway. If the bus is stuck in the same traffic with cars, it’s not really “gold standard” BRT. It’s just a bus.