One universal problem faced by any innovative new transport idea (although BRT, of course, is anything but new) is that nobody wants to be first; no matter how good the idea looks on paper people are, entirely understandably, very cautious about spending significant amounts of money on a project that could turn out to be a financial disaster and a political embarrassment.
Which leads to an obvious paradox – in order for BRT to be able to prove to people that it can be a highly efficient and cost effective means of mass transit people have to be persuaded to build schemes, but it is hard to do this unless there are already successful schemes to use as exemplars.
Which, in turn, means that every successful BRT scheme has an effect that extends far beyond its immediate catchment area. Last year it was Cambridgeshire’s guided busway that was winning all the headlines. This year Hampshire’s Eclipse scheme has got up and running. And both are producing passenger numbers that are very healthy indeed.
So we now know that BRT works.
Well, actually, we knew this before, but now we have the hard evidence to convince even the most sceptical. 14 new BRT schemes are in the pipeline in the UK, apparently – and the term ‘critical mass’ springs to mind. Indeed, as BRTuk chair Bob Tebb notes in his introduction, BRT is now mainstream.
And not before time.
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