Bus transit lessons from CuritibaCuritiba, Brazil is often held up as a model city for how to do transit right, with an extremely efficient and fast bus system. One of my newsgroups had this post from Jim Karlock of Portland, which I thought I'd pass along since bus vs. rail is a big debate point in Houston right now.
No major revelations there. Just a strong endorsement of the cost effectivess of bus over rail or subways and avoiding government subsidies.
Jamie Lerner, the former mayor of Curitiba Brazil gave a talk in Portland last night. Here are a few items that struck me from his talk:
Beware of people selling complexity.
Their bus system pays its own way (NO SUBSIDIES!!!)
Sustainability consists of using fewer cars, separating your garbage (recycling), living closer to work.
They have double articulated busses that can carry 300 people. (Also have single articulated busses.) The bus system simulates a subway at much, much, much lower cost.
Surface transportation is key (as opposed to underground)
He ran a video showing the bus stopping, multiple doors opening, ramps extending to the station and people getting on/off. The fares were done at the station. Not on the bus. Their bus system costs MUCH less than light rail would have cost. The city built the busways and stations then contracted the actual busses to private operators on a per kilo basis. Busses can run on less than one minute headways. They can transport 50,000 passengers per hour past a point (I think this was one lane - yeah, I did the math that would be a 20 sec headway)
The new mayor considered light rail, but rejected it since they have a successful system.
Q: Portland is about to spend over $200 million to put in streets, sewer, water etc to support a new high density development. Does your city do the same?
A: NO. Development pays its own way.
Q: Portland will buy a parcel of land for, say, $1 million and sell it to a developer for, say, $1/2 million in order to get the type of development that it desires. Does your city do this?