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A concept called Rapid Bus Transit is getting increased attention, I hear, even though so far in the United States, having a designated lane doesn’t seem to make much difference. When I take Boston’s Silver Line to go to the SoWa art galleries, it acts like an ordinary bus — stuck in traffic and arriving in clumps. (In NY City, in the old days, we used to say, Why are buses like bananas? Answer: Because they are green and yellow and come in bunches.)

I do like taking the Silver Line to the airport, though.

Will Doig at Salon.com writes: “When it comes to improving mass transit, there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit on the humble city bus. The vital connective tissue of multi-modal transit systems, the bus could be an efficient — nay, elegant — solution to cities’ mobility woes if only we made it so. …

“Making people like the bus when not liking the bus is practically an American pastime essentially means making the bus act and feel more like a train. Trains show up roughly when they’re supposed to. Buses take forever, then arrive two at a time. Trains boast better design, speed, shelters, schedules and easier-to-follow routes. When people say they don’t like the bus but they do like the train, what they really mean is they like those perks the train offers. But there’s no reason bus systems can’t simply incorporate most of them. That’s the goal of bus rapid transit.” Doig has more at Salon.

Photograph: Duncan Allen at world.nycsubway.org

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