Friday, February 20, 2009

New Hybrid Articulated Buses - Where to Put Them

(*Photo by wikipedia)

The first of the new Hybrid Articulated buses will be on the roads in Baltimore soon. The new buses are 60 footers, and can carry about 4% more passengers than the normal buses. Being hybrids they are quieter, less polluting, and use 20% less fuel. Save the Bay Ride MTA!

But, what to do with them? Generally the articulated buses go on those with the higher ridership, but what about the QuickBus?

The Route 40 QuickBus is an express bus service, a long shot for a BRT, but atleast it's something. However, it isn't very visible, the stops don't look any different than most local buses, and the biggest problem I see, they look just like every other bus! Why not take some of these new buses, give them a unique paint scheme and reserve them for the QuickBus. MTA is also planning 2 other QuickBus routes between downtown and Towson, so why not jump on board soon with this.

It will make the route a hell of a lot more visible. Which brings me to my second point: visibility. As planned the QuickBus was supposed to have unique shelters and signage with next-bus LED screens, but this never happened besides at a few spots (Shot Tower for one). Solution - finish the job why don't you, and the visibility problem is solved...voilĂ !

Lastly, the express factor. Normally it takes over an hour for a bus to travel the entire distance of the route. If you were to drive, without stopping, it would take you about 45 mins. A possible solution is to reduce the number of stops to lower the travel time. If MTA's intention for this is to be for commuters, then eliminate some of the stops between Security Square and Middle River and downtown.

Just a few ideas to make it better. Now go get your weekend on!

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