Originally Posted by someone123
My concern for the more elaborate BRT systems is that the price-to-performance ratio is probably not as good as light rail. Simple buses are very cheap and useful but of course quickly become limited in terms of travel time and even capacity. According to the library report, 3000 buses a day go down Spring Garden Road. It's not hard to imagine a point where there's just no more room for buses on Halifax's narrow streets.
Even as ridership expands I just don't see us needing LRT performance for many corridors in Halifax, especially off the peninsula. The lower operating costs are great for LRT but only where the ridership can justify the expensive capital costs. I think an ideal solution will be having BRT and express routes servicing outlying, less dense areas that don't require the capacity of LRT and are also too far from the core to justify the construction costs. LRT would supplement this network by creating a small number of urban, high capacity corridors that move people within the core. I like to think of it as analogous to how large cities structure their commuter rail (lower capacity and cost, but good for long distance) and subways (very high cost and capacity but excellent for inner city and downtown environments).
I think Ottawa is a good reference city for bus congestion. The transitway moves through downtown on two parallel, one-way, bus only streets, one going in each direction. I believe they have reached the capacity of those streets to handle buses at rush hour and are looking to an LRT system with a downtown tunnel to eleviate this problem. They run a lot of articulated buses and really need the increased capacity of a rail system.
Ottawa has a much larger transit system than Halifax (370,000 riders per weekday for Ottawa, 80,000 for Halifax, according to Wiki); however, Halifax doesn't have the option of running buses on parallel one way streets in the downtown, at least not in any useful way. The IBI report did recommend ending several routes from Dartmouth at Bridge Terminal and using higher capacity buses on routes like the 1 to pick up the slack, which seems like a reasonable option. We will also be using more articulated buses in the future which will increase capacity. So we currently have options with our bus system to avoid huge bus congestion problems downtown, even as the Link routes expand. It's a really quick comparison, but I guess my main point is we are a long way off Ottawa's situation where bus congestion is a huge hindrance to the operation of the entire system. I think Halifax will embrace rail transit for reasons other than performance, like leveraging investment along key corridors such as Spring Garden, Barrington, Gottingen and Quinpool.
3000 buses a day can't be right. That's 1500 buses each direction per day. Metro Transit runs from 5am until 12pm, so 19 hours. 80 buses every hour in each direction?? That has to be off, even in rush hour the 1 only runs six buses per hour per direction.