Annex 10 Bus Technology on Trunk Routes

There is a world-wide consensus that the ‘ideal’ bus unit for HCBRT operation is the 18m articulated bus. This has the flexibility and lower-cost of a standard unit and can manoeuvre round typical city centre streets.

There is also agreement that, in order to gain in loading times – and consequently running speeds – the units should have pre-paid access. Thus the stations should offer at-level boarding. Having card-readers (or ticket sales) on the bus slows down the entire system.

There do not appear to be any major advantages in the use of low-floor units. Pre-paid access requires that passengers are already at bus-floor level, and low-floor units tend to offer smaller, flat, standing areas – with more space lost to tyre wells, power plants, etc.

The link between bus capacity and system capacity has also been established, the larger the unit, the higher the overall system capacity, due mainly to the better use of platform space at stations.

The use of mixed fleets has been tested and rejected in Latin America. With very short headways, bunching is unavoidable and the smaller units simply tend to be overcrowded and end up slowing down the entire system.

This is always a problem at the design stage, when operators – both public and private – start to insist that their existing buses can be used for BRT. The result is always a poorly managed BoL, with lower quality service and capacity.

In summary:

  • The system capacity of the busway will adjust the capacity of the smallest vehicle used.
  • The BRT system will tend to operate at the speed of the slowest units.
  • On payment or card-reading on boarding slows down operations and trunk capacity is lost.

Table 1 Options in Bus Technology

Type Photos Particulars
Standard Example Cities: Delhi, Auckland, Calgary, Ottawa, Runcorn, San Juan, Saskatoon, Beijing
Capacity: 60 – 80
Length: 12M
Articulated Example Cities: Bogota, China, Leon, Amsterdam, Guntemala, Mexico, Vancouver, Europe, Santiago
Capacity: 120 – 170
Length: 18M
Bi-Articulated Example Cities: Eindhoven, Curitiba, Goteborg, Lima
Capacity: 240 – 270
Length: 24M
Double Decker Example Cities: Dublin, London, Amsterdam, Leeds
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