Building a Better Bus Means Cribbing from Trains

Kris Hudson investigates the ways in which cities across America are retooling the way their buses look and function in order to attract 'choice riders.'
September 27, 2012, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

Hudson explores the many varieties of bus rapid transit popping up in cities across America as "they hope to attract passengers who don't have to ride the bus to work-people who can afford to own a car and pay for gas and parking, but who will willingly hop a bus." To woo these so-called 'choice riders," transportation agencies around the country are introducing bus lines that operate more like trains, with minimal stops and off-bus ticketing.

Equally important are the upgrades to buses' amenities and appearance, such as exterior designs meant to connote speed, which are meant to "further differentiate these buses from their regular brethren."

"On board, rapid-transit buses in Cleveland and Las Vegas include a few rows of seats facing inward to the center aisle rather than forward, allowing for more legroom and additional room to move through the bus," writes Hudson. "The Kansas City area's MAX buses, which serve both cities in Missouri and Kansas, offer two more inches of leg room than regular buses. Express buses in Santa Clara County, Calif., include Wi-Fi service, high-back chairs, footrests and overhead reading lights-essentials for attracting Silicon Valley's techie commuters."

"'It speaks luxury when you look at it,' said Brandi Childress, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, of the bus service."


Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 in The Wall Street Journal
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email