Learn To Love The Bus

It may not be sexy and it may not be fast, but the time has come to acknowledge the key role that the much maligned form of public transit will have in solving cities’ mobility woes, writes Will Doig.
March 5, 2012, 12pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Less expensive and easier to implement than rail-based mass transit, Doig looks to bus rapid transit as a system with the potential to revolutionize mobility in U.S. cities, as it has across the world, from Bogotá to Guangzhou.

According to Doig, "[m]aking people like the bus when not liking the bus is practically an American pastime essentially means making the bus act and feel more like a train. Trains show up roughly when they're supposed to. Buses take forever, then arrive two at a time. Trains boast better design, speed, shelters, schedules and easier-to-follow routes. When people say they don't like the bus but they do like the train, what they really mean is they like those perks the train offers. But there's no reason bus systems can't simply incorporate most of them."

Doig, with the assistance of transit consultant Jarrett Walker, offers some relatively easy fixes to vastly improve the image and functionality of bus systems anywhere, including increasing frequency, improving bus maps, enhancing predictability, upgrading bus stops, and raising the aesthetics of the buses themselves.

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Published on Saturday, March 3, 2012 in Salon.com
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