Friday, July 27, 2012

Northern Beaches BRT study released

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has recently been studied for the Northern Beaches.  Long story short, it finds that none of the studied concepts is cost effective.  Why might this be? 
  1. 24 hour bus lanes are a bit wasted if off peak services are to be kept mediocre.  I mean, for crying out loud, 20 minute weekend frequency on the L90 (to Palm Beach) dropping back to half hourly evenings and early mornings, with the L88 (to Avalon) not operating is mediocre at best.  In general, 15 minute frequency is what is needed to boost patronage as a 14 minute wait is far more acceptable than a 19 minute one.  Similarly, the L80 (to Collaroy Plateau) reverts to a half hourly 180 on Saturday and the L85 (to Mona Vale via North Narrabeen) is also half hourly.  Those heading beyond Burnt Creek Deviation are best off to avoid the all stopping services as they are about 8 minutes slower from Wynyard to Condamine and King Sts, so effectively there are only 5 buses an hour on this corridor Saturday daytimes with 20 minute service gaps, speaking generally.
  2. A 6 lane Spit Bridge is hard to justify as there are already 3 lanes for the peak direction.  This does prevent the limitation of needing to reduce to a single lane counter peak, but it is easy to see that not being justified.  The Roseville Bridge is a reasonable alternative for counter peak travel for half of the Northern Beaches.
  3. Option One seems to include the removal of the tidal flow arrangements on the Spit Bridge, with a single lane for cars in both directions.  This is not made clear however.
  4. The suggestion of removing the L60 (Chatswood-Mona Vale via Dee Why) is bizarre.

What are alternative proposals? 
  1. Have a counter peak bus lane along Spit Rd, preferably extending all the way back to the Warringah Freeway.  This likely would need to be combined with pushing trucks into lane 3 from the start of the Truck and Bus Speed Limit shortly before Medusa St.  There are no right turns until the end of the current speed limit, even if there is one immediately after its end.  This bus lane is important as it allows buses to queue jump the counter peak traffic letting them both serve the counter peak demand better and return for another peak run without requiring more buses to provide the same service.
  2. Upgrading the peak direction Transit Lane to a Bus Lane between the Spit Bridge and the Warringah Freeway.
  3. Actually establishing some sort of PM peak priority north of Ourimbah Rd.
  4. Increase off peak services.  BUZ in Brisbane and Smartbus in Melbourne have both seen high take up of their services.  Metrobus in Sydney has been less successful, even if there are good services in there.  Services stopping at 9pm is no doubt a factor in the lack of success of Metrobus.  This would do much to reduce traffic congestion on the beaches and also help justify 24hr bus lane proposals.
  5. More limited stop services outside of peak hour.  It is unclear why the L80 should downgrade to a 180 on weekends, for example.
  6. Free transfers.  This will improve the service for all in that people can use a feeder and trunk model to get faster journeys.  Some will prefer a slower single seat, of course.
More generally, it is not entirely clear why median stations would be preferred over kerbside stations, nor is it clear why North Sydney termination with interchange to what are already reasonably full trains would even be proposed.

None of the options in the report break down the costs into their components, largely leaving the reader guessing.

No comments:

Post a Comment