Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 3rd 2014 Contents A10
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Transport Minister Stephen
Cadiz says a mass transit system
for T&T is long overdue.
But the form of mass transit best
suited for T&T is debatable. Factors
such as cost, time and reliability
all play a central part in what form
of mass transit system T&T should
use---Rapid Rail, Light Rapid Rail
are terms well-known by the T&T
public. But consideration is being
given by Cadiz to yet another mass
transit system---The Bus Rapid
Transit (BRT). The BRT is used in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Americas,
China and India.
And now it is being considered
as a third alternative for the coun-
try s mass transportation system.
According to publictransporta-
tion.about.com, "Bus Rapid Tran-
sit, often abbreviated as BRT, refers
to a system of buses that operate
more like a conventional rail system
than the traditional local buses we
are all accustomed to riding."
Its characteristics, the site said,
"consists of conventional, although
often articulated, transit buses
stopping at much greater intervals
than would be the case for local
buses. Typically BRT stops are
located 1/2 mile to one mile apart."
Most BRT lines are branded as
different from regular buses in
some manner; these brands could
include a unique bus design, a dif-
ferent colour scheme, and the ref-
erence to the line by a subway-
style nomenclature such as the
"Red Line" instead of a traditional
bus route number.
"Depending on the amount of
money spent, BRT lines can oper-
ate in mixed traffic like other bus
routes, in reserved bus lanes, or
even in segregated rights of way.
BRT stops can range from simple
traditional bus stop signs to exten-
sive shelters featuring real time
arrival and departure times and
off street ticketing machines. "BRT
lines usually operate very frequent-
ly compared with other bus routes
operated by the transit provider;
usually buses come equal to or
more often than every ten minutes,
although in some cities with less
robust transit BRT lines operate
on a fifteen minute frequency.
Night and weekend service is
sometimes but not always provid-
ed," the Web site stated.
Cadiz, when asked why the sys-
tem was being considered, said in
an interview with the Sunday
Guardian that the system would
be significantly cheaper for the
country since the infrastructural
changes necessary for its imple-
mentation would be less than if
rapid or light rail were introduced.
Cadiz said, however, the system
chosen would be dependent on an
update to the feasibility study done
by the Patrick-Manning led PNM
administration. The revised study,
Cadiz said, could be done for less
than $2 to 3 million. This revision,
he said, would determine the type
of mass transit system used.
The problem with Manning s
rapid rail proposal, he said, was
that it would have cost the country
upwards of $22 billion dollars.
While any attempt to implement
a mass transportation system
would cost billions of dollars, Cadiz
said "the implementation of a sys-
tem like BRT would be significantly
less." Cadiz did not quantify exact-
ly what significantly less meant.
He said BRT would work well
in T&T because of the number of
people transported an hour. He
said approximately 20,000 people
per hour were transferred along
T&T s roadways.
Had the Rapid rail been imple-
mented by the Manning admin-
istration, Cadiz said it would have
required regular maintenance as
well as upwards of 50,000 people
travelling per hour.
Road systems such as the Pri-
ority Bus Route were already in
place, which would make imple-
menting the BRT as a mass transit
Cadiz said he hoped to make a
decision about which mass transit
system would be used by early 2015
after the study had been completed
and after public consultation.
He said whichever system was
chosen, it should last approximate-
ly 20 years before maintenance
Cadiz wants bus rapid transit
...to ease transport woes
A paper on www.mapc.org
highlighted the pros and cons of
the use of BRT
Here are some of them:
1) Flexibility-Bus routes can
change and expand when needed.
For example, if a roadway is
closed or if destinations or
2) Requires no special facilities-
Buses can be use existing
roadways and general traffic
lanes can be converted into a
3) Several bus routes can
converge onto one busway
thereby reducing the need for
transfers. BRT therefore is more
suitable for dispersed land use,
such as suburban locations.
4) Lower capital costs for initial
infrastructure investment. A
study found that the capital costs
for various types of BRT systems
range from a low of US$200,000
per mile for an arterial street-
based system to US$55 million
per mile for a dedicated busway
5) Can serve a larger geographical
1) Buses have poor public image
2) Poor quality service---Service in
many urban centers is deficient
3) Flexibility and decentralisation
have downsides---These result in a
lack of system visibility and
permanence that drives public
perceptions of unreliability and
4) A temporary solution: Many
BRTs are temporary solutions until
an LRT (light rail) system is built.
PROS AND CONS OF BRT
Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz
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