San Francisco Bus Rapid Transit Performing Well, One Month In

After a month of service, the Van Ness BRT line has cut travel times by roughly nine minutes and spurred increased ridership.

May 5, 2022, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

The highly anticipated Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project in San Francisco, which opened a month ago, is successfully cutting travel times and attracting 13 percent more riders, reports Ricardo Cano. “Northbound weekday trips on the BRT lanes are also saving riders 35% in travel times, according to the agency, meaning that it takes Muni buses about nine minutes fewer to travel on the corridor than it did before the BRT project.” 

According to Cano, “Before the pandemic, it would take 49 buses 50 minutes, round trip, to complete a run between stops at Mission and 13th streets and Van Ness and Chestnut Street. Now, buses completing that same trip are doing so in about 36 minutes on weekday mornings, shaving off 14 minutes from travel times, agency data show.” In the future, “The BRT lanes are expected to bring more travel time savings as the agency optimizes the transit signal priority that help buses progress through intersections on the corridor faster. ”

Meanwhile, the agency is struggling to bring back pre-pandemic service levels. “Frustrated transit advocates have wanted SFMTA to act faster to restore suspended lines and add frequencies to current lines, though the agency has said an operator shortage has hampered progress.”

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