Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is one of the key Rapid Transit options Metro is considering in its Rapid Transit Connector Study. The study will be used to inform Metro’s long-range plan, Moving Transit Forward, with the following articulated goals:
- Providing and enhancing transit service in the near and long-term
- Expanding the Metro System into new communities and new markets
- Supporting and encouraging economic and workforce development
- Retaining existing riders while attracting new ones
- Expanding the quality and efficiency of the St. Louis regional transit system
To better understand the features and benefits of BRT, St. Louisans can look to San Antonio’s new Primo system which began service in December 2012.
With robust employment opportunities and a low cost of living, San Antonio city planners expected rapid population growth and realized that the city’s streets and highways would struggle to accommodate the projected influx of people. This led them to explore traffic mitigation strategies and Primo is the result of their efforts.
Primo runs through one of San Antonio’s busiest routes, the Fredricksberg Road corridor, and connects the two biggest employment centers in the region, also offering convenient connections to other transit services. Primo is also the first step in expanding transit options in the region.
Key features of the Primo service, also considered for the St. Louis region, are the 60 foot buses that carry up to 90 people. Primo runs service every 10 minutes during the week and 15 on the weekends and the buses run on compressed natural gas to be cost effective and environmentally friendly. Additionally, Primo’s bus stations are dedicated stops, covered by canopies, with large waiting areas. Stations also include benches, security cameras, and systems that list the next bus arrival time.
With this system, San Antonians are saving as much as 15 minutes time in each direction, time savings that surprised even the system’s planners. “By providing a safe, efficient, and environmentally transportation solution to passengers, Primo has helped alleviate congestion, reduce emissions and increase throughput in one of the city’s most traveled corridors.”
BRT service is planned for St. Louis’s busiest bus route, the Grand Avenue corridor. If San Antonio’s successes bode well, south St. Louisans are in for a great new service that will hopefully lead to expansion of Metro services throughout the entire region as well.
Source: Srinivasan, Jay. “San Antonio’s Primo BRT Service Offers Fast, Comfortable Transport.” Metro Magazine, April 2013, Vol. 109/ http://www.metro-magazine.com/