Bus Rapid Transit

In Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) applications, the bus is often used in the form of an electric bus, hybrid bus or trolleybus.

Trolley Bus

The bus is the public means of transport which is widest-spread around the world. Every city, regardless of its size, operates a bus fleet. For local public passenger transport the diesel or hybrid bus is used as a two-axle 12 m bus, three axle 15 m bus, 18 m one pin-joint bus or recently as a multiple pin-joint bus with a length between 25 and 32 m.

In many middle-sized cities a high-capacity Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system with its own right of way or a trolley bus (with overhead contact lines) fleet even substitutes the tram (partially even the metro). Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems with their own right of way are totally separated from the motorized individual traffic. Usually multiple pin-joint buses with high passenger capacities are used for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) applications which allows for high overall transport capacities of up to 10,000 pphpd when operated with short headways.

Bus Rapid Transit

The conventional diesel or hybrid bus as an economic public transport system for small transport capacities of up to 2,500 pphpd cannot be outperformed regarding flexibility (alignment, headway, capacity, etc.). The strengths of buses are the dispersion, the comprehensive geographical coverage in rural areas, the good network capability, and the easy portability.

The bus has a universal function in local public passenger transport since it is often implemented as a compromise solution if more comfortable and more performing means of transport fail because of the limits of financing or due to infrastructural reasons. Studies show, that the bus is not very appreciated among passengers. The reason for this is the lack of comfort (interior equipment, ride comfort and delays due to traffic jams) on the one hand and a high emission of noise and exhaust on the other hand.

While buses have low investment costs, they only reach an amortization period of 8 to 10 years whereas a tram operates up to 30 years. This is the reason other systems, such as the tram, reach better results in terms of rolling stock costs per passenger kilometer.

Practice has shown that using hybrid instead of diesel buses does not save as much as expected. Savings range from around 10 to 15 % as compared to diesel buses. Thus, it will be exciting to see when seminal technologies such as 100 % battery operated e-buses with 24 hours availability are going to replace the conventional technologies.

Although the adaption of the size of a bus fleet can be carried out simply and fast, the low vehicle capacities compared to the tram are still an enormous disadvantage This is why there is a trend towards multiple pin-joint buses with environmentally friendly drive concepts, which are legally approved for road based public transport.

Legal notice: The pictures were taken by Kecko and Carlos Felipe Pardo. All rights reserved by them.