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What Rapid Bus Looks Like In Practice

While researching the last entry, I discovered a site which is a fairly harsh critic of Boston's transit agency, and this gem of an update on their "Silver Line" BRT project (which restored transit service on a corridor which had elevated rail years before).

I urge anybody interested in transit to read this, especially if you're tempted to believe that Rapid Bus is going to be a big improvement over current bus service.

(also added them to my links).

This entry was posted in the following categories: Don't Hurt Us Mr. Krusee, We'll Do Whatever You Want


The experience of Boston has been one of isolation - press coverage of our infamous and incompetent transit "Authority" has traditionaly been fawning, with occasional press release re-writes, although recently a reporter made the trek to actually ride it and what came back was realistically unfavourable. A tribute to opening ones eyes (and a little honest work).

So in our isolation, few have heard from the residents along the bus's service area, a majority of whom seem to feel the almost $2 Billion effort (so far) is a waste. Nobody noticed when the feds pulled their grant to pour even more into this mess-allegedly due to concerns over the fiscal stability of our mismanaged transit agency. (Well, the agency noticed. After lots of political maneuvering, the cash spigot will likely be turned back to "full on".) Buses here still get stuck in traffic.. stuck at lights... stuck in snow. Most recently, stuck in the agency's own ineptness - testing a new farebox system that's so poorly done it takes much longer to board passengers, further slowing things down.

Maybe we shouldn't have a problem with a system of buses (touted as a "line"), whose bus stops cost $250,000 - each one. Small change when you consider the overall performance. And what's that? Substandard, compared to the light rail system originally promised. Even our Boston Globe did the right thing - a survey - documenting for the first time that BRT (here) flops.

BRT exists in other places and can work if done right. But unfortunately here in Boston, where our politics have strong parallels to the way organized crime operates, and where instead of a coordinated effort by all of government we've got one fifedom battling over the other for control, cash and power, and where people are put in charge based on favors owed - not true leadership and management skills - BRT like everything else becomes yet another costly failure.

If you intend to do BRT, don't follow our example. Use it as a template for avoiding the who, what, where, and how of our expensive and wasteful experience.