High-speed service great idea,

Suburban bus GM says

Oct. 27, 2011 |

John Hertel

Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal for high-speed bus service on major routes including Woodward, Gratiot, Michigan Avenue and M-59, connecting downtown to key suburbs, Metro Airport and Ann Arbor, would be a huge boost for moving people to jobs at a crucial time in metro Detroit, the general manager of the region’s suburban bus system said.

John Hertel said the speedy buses wouldn’t undercut service provided by the Detroit Department of Transportation or SMART, the suburban bus system, or the proposed $550-million light-rail line on Woodward from downtown to 8 Mile that Detroit plans to begin building next year.
Instead, it would help stabilize bus service in Detroit and the suburbs, freeing up DDOT and SMART to focus on better service on other routes, and the more reliable, expanded services could boost ridership and public support for transit expansion, Hertel said.
Snyder’s proposal isn’t new.
In 2008, a group headed by Hertel proposed an interconnected regional network of traditional and high-speed buses along with commuter rail and light rail, with one transit authority operating the system with dedicated regional funding.
Snyder’s plan focuses on one part of the transit puzzle.

His administration suggests the idea is to start small and use momentum later to tackle larger problems with moving people.
High-speed buses are longer than traditional coaches, stop less often, and in many places run in dedicated lanes.
The buses also are capable of controlling traffic lights so they don’t have to stop at intersections.
Details on exact routes and the costs of the buses have yet to be worked out, and officials said it was too early to discuss specifics such as setting aside existing lanes for the buses.
Hertel said the high-speed buses would provide service on more than 100 miles of major metro Detroit roadways at a reasonable cost.
“I can’t think of a more efficient use of dollars than this one,” he said. “Plus, this is a quantum leap forward.”


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