Bus Rapid Transit: 'Not Your Father's Bus' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Bus Rapid Transit: 'Not Your Father's Bus'

Play associated audio
On Veirs Mill Road, the route would go from the Rockville Metrorail station to the Wheaton Metrorail station.
Matt Bush
On Veirs Mill Road, the route would go from the Rockville Metrorail station to the Wheaton Metrorail station.

The proposed bus lines aren't the traditional routes you see now. They would be rapid buses that would use county roads but have their own lanes, so stopping because of traffic would be minimal.

And the buses look different too. They're low to the ground, resembling something that looks more like a rail car, according to Michael Flood, with the consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff.

"It's not your father's bus. It's not the bus many of us have known. It's a sleek vehicle," he says.

One of the 16 proposed rapid bus routes would run here along Veirs Mill Road, between the Rockville and Wheaton Metrorail stations. Many of the routes would connect Metrorail stations on the Red Line. Veirs Mills Road already has lanes that buses can now use that are not open to through traffic, so Flood says it would be easy to put rapid buses here quickly and reach the goal of at least 10,000 riders daily on the nearly seven-mile route.

"Veirs Mill Road, we could see 84 percent of that ridership by 2020 because most of those land uses are already in place," he says.

But there is a high price for the whole plan: Flood estimates it at $2.5 billion.

"Total route miles is about 148 miles, with about 150 identified stations," Flood says.

County Council member Marc Elrich has long been a supporter of a rapid bus system in the county, and he says lawmakers cannot run from a giant price tag, saying that didn't happen with the Dulles Rail project in Northern Virginia.

"We're looking at a project across the river, and you'll see a $2.5 billion project that was turned around in virtually no time coming out of the ground already. And it will open the doors for them to do the kinds of things we would like to do," Elrich says. "We need to do something relatively bold if we are going to keep ourselves on the map."

Getting money will be difficult, as the state of Maryland is already pushing the federal government for one mass transit project in the county, the Purple Line. Once that is completed, the fight for the Corridor Cities Transitway, another mass transit project that will mostly serve Montgomery County, is expected to start.

NPR

A Punch Line In The U.S., Christmas Fruitcake Is Big In Calcutta

Seen as indestructible in the West, fruitcakes are indispensable in the bustling Hindu city. Bakers of all faiths have the ovens running round the clock to feed Calcutta's appetite for the cakes.
NPR

Inside The Indiana Megadairy Making Coca-Cola's New Milk

Coca-Cola got a lot of attention in November when it announced it was going into the milk business. In fact, its extra-nutritious milk product was invented by some dairy farmers in Indiana.
NPR

What To Expect In The 2016 Presidential Announcement Season

With Jeb Bush signaling he's likely to run for president in 2016, it's another sign that the presidential announcement season is underway. Here's a look at who has jumped in the race early and what to expect in the coming months.
NPR

2014 Hashtags: #BringBackOurGirls Made Nigerian Schoolgirls All Of 'Ours'

As part of a series on hashtag activism in 2014, Audie Cornish speaks with Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Open Society Foundation. Ezekwesili was one of the early promoters of the hashtag #bringbackourgirls, about schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria in April.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.