Oh, to dream! If only CTA's bus rapid transit would look like China's

Oh, to dream! If only CTA's bus rapid transit would look like China's

Guangzhou, China — formerly known as Canton — is a city of 6 million people, almost 12 million in the greater urban area. That makes it about twice as large as Chicago, so maybe this comparison is unfair.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t hope that the CTA’s bus rapid transit routes would look like those we see in this video from Guangzhou. It’s worth the time to take a couple of minutes to see the great things the Chinese did, and what might happen here.

Bus Rapid Transit in Guangzhou, China from Streetfilms on Vimeo.


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  • You should the trains in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Tokyo and other Asian cities, that will really have you dreaming!

  • Dictatorships can get amazing things done.
    Just don't get in their way while they do it!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Very true Scooter. But at least this time they did something good for the people.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    It's not really for the people.
    It's so the people can get to their jobs making cheap, crappy shit for Americans.
    Then the Chinese government has more leverage over us due to our slimy, money grubbing corporations that have stolen good American job & the corrupt politicians that have not just allowed it, but encouraged it!

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    There are actually great examples of BRT right here in North America - it's the backbone of Ottawa's system. Ottawa is much smaller than Chicago (think Milwaukee sized), but the system is heavily used - more than 1/5 of residents take transit to work.

    More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottawa_Rapid_Transit

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    First, it isn't "Guangzhou, China -- formerly known as Canton." Martin Yan said that he was born in Guangzhou, China 62 years ago. "Canton," like "Peking", is western hubris.

    Whether one wants to get into Scooter's dictatorship debate (Moscow has an art gallery for a subway), as Tim points out, this is pretty standard BRT design.

    If the inference is whether Chicago will get any of this, the question is whether (even if Guangzhou has more horrendous traffic congestion) Chicago is willing to set aside 24 to 60 feet of the middle of a street for the BRT lanes and stations. The $193 million plan didn't promise to do that, but just establish no parking lanes. Without massive condemnation, the only street right of ways that seem even close to wide enough are Ashland and Western, or the median in Stony Island. Maybe it can be like Cleveland, and go through some somewhat abandoned neighborhoods (maybe Drexel Blvd. is similar to Euclid Ave.) but you won't pick up much ridership that way.

    Of course, former dictator Daley is waiting for the Shanghai maglev under Block 37.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    The thing that stands out to me, is paying before boarding the bus. That makes a huge difference, it prevents the self centered from fighting their way in front of a crowd of people waiting to board a bus, only to pull out the purse, and start digging around for their fares.

    By the way, CTA is actively working to screw up everyone's commute even more. There have been threats of writing up operators for showing up to a mid route time terminal early based on information from the bus gps system. Doesn't matter if the bus does not leave the terminal early, just showing up a minute early will be disciplinary action. If CTA follows through on these threats, operators will have no choice but to slow down, and when you slow down, you pick up more people than you should be, when you pick up more people than you should be, you run even later, you run late, keep picking up more people... I guarantee, bus bunching will get worse. Guaranteed.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    As to your first point, I never saw how the prepaid area would work, especially on Jeffery. Most of the presentations showed sort of a bus shelter in a cage, which would really encourage drive-by shooters, which are in that neighborhood.

    On your second point, CTA's action is similar to the Pace philosophy that a driver cannot blow through an intermediate time point, and the service standard is no more than 1 minute early or 5 minutes late at all time points. Theoretically, that should reduce bus bunching if a bus is hitting a timepoint early. However, I tend to doubt that CTA buses do. In any event, Pace riders (the few there are) tolerate the scheduled delays, but I am sure that CTA riders won't.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    Did anyone else hear the warning from the red line operator that went through Jackson around 9pm on Wednesday? The operator said that they have been told to go into stations at reduced speed if people are standing near the end, and that if they didn't they would be taken out of service. He definitely proceeded slowly into Jackson.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    Good luck finding right-of-way wide enough to do that in Chicago.

  • In reply to JWirtz79:

    Bus and bike only north/south streets would be neat. No other traffic permitted.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    The trains ran better in Fascist Itally too. Amazing what totalitarianism can do.

  • In reply to EddieWillers:

    Urban legend alert:


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