Passengers using the busway have the option to use a go card, which can also be used on train and ferry services as well and allows for seamless transfers between services. In addition, users can register their card to protect their travel balance if it is lost or stolen.
Cambridgeshire Guided Busway — Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
Cambridgeshire in the United Kingdom is home to the world’s longest guided busway, which opened in August 2011 and is already seeing healthy ridership growth. The route runs from Cambridge to Huntingdon, a distance of around 15.5 miles (25 kilometers). There are 10 stops, allowing 11,500 trips per day.
Parsons Brinckerhoff, in joint venture, managed the design. A major structure on the scheme that Parsons Brinckerhoff designed is the 721-foot (220-meter) seven-span Great River Ouse Viaduct.
The project was designed for high-quality, high-speed ride quality. “The way they did that was the precast beams and pilings that were used in actually engineering the project were done in very low tolerances so that the quality of the castings were extremely accurate so that, and there was actually at the casting mill if you will, the factory, all the casting of the beams were done on site and then they were put in place again with a high degree of quality control,” explains Henke, “and as a result, the objective they were trying to reach was high speeds — 55 or 65 mph — of these buses traveling down the busway and passengers being able to drink a cup of coffee as the thing goes at 65 mph.”
In addition to the high-speed service, the Cambridgshire Busway features platformed stops, advanced ticket purchase and real-time passenger information. It also provides links for the Northstowe housing project, which will see 9,500 houses built north of the city and effectively become a new town, according to Parsons Brinckerhoff. There will be new associated park-and-ride sites at St. Ives and Longstanton, where the planned new town is to be built.
From an operational standpoint, instead of contracting out the service it is franchised out. “We [the United States] contract out BRT services in a variety of places, Las Vegas being one of them andPhoenix being another, where private operators are actually operating the service. Here it’s a little different because it’s at-risk under a franchise agreement,” Henke says.
Guangzhou BRT — Guangzhou, China
Guangzhou, China is a city about the size of New York and has three distinctive “downtown” areas. All of these downtowns are connected by one main six-lane corridor that had become “hopelessly congested,” Bench says.
“A lot of the congestion, oddly enough, was being caused by buses at intersections because there is substantial demand for public transit in Guangzhou. They do have a rapid transit network but it’s still growing; it’s not as big as they’d like it quite yet,” Bench says. “What they ended up with was actually horrible congestion, but a lot of it at these intersections was caused by literally eight, 10, 15 buses all trying to stop at the same bus stop. So they’d be effectively double, triple, quadruple parked and then kind of cutting off all of the vehicle flow of automobiles and other buses along the corridor. It was just getting to the point of gridlock.”
To solve the congestion issue, Guangzhou completely redesigned the whole corridor. “It’s that same concept of going in and saying, OK, we’re not just building a bus rapid transit line right now, but we’re figuring out how to turn this into a working corridor for all the different modal uses that are necessary along there: bikes, cars, buses,” Bench says.
The new corridor now features dedicated pedestrian sidewalks, bike lanes, a couple lanes for cars and two lanes for buses at each of the station locations, allowing for buses to pass each other. The demand in thecorridor is so high that Bench says the effective headway at peak periods is 10 seconds.
“It’s mindboggling. Every 10 seconds a bus is coming along,” he says.
The BRT line is 14 miles long and has six stations along the way. Each station consists of three platforms that can each accommodate three buses. So, a total of nine buses can be berthed at the station at the same time. Guangzhou uses a direct service model, meaning most of the service along the bus rapid transit line is being provided by local buses that come on and off the BRT line.