NYC Gets First BRT Line
Mayor Bloomberg and the gang inaugurate the "salsarengue" bus.
Transit got a major boost in The City last week with a brand new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line in the Bronx. Despite the fact that some city officials view the Bronx "as a border between Lower Manhattan and suburban car commuters," city planners decided to follow dozens of other cities worldwide in adopting BRT technology. Cheaper than a subway or a light rail, a BRT line functions "almost like a surface subway system," as DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan described it, and will likely bring a heap of economic and other benefits to the Bronx in its wake.The Bronx BRT line is set to take over the route of a bus line nicknamed the "salsarengue bus," after the musical tastes of the neighborhood's largely Latino population.
New York City is already one of the easiest American cities to get around by public transport, and one of the only ones where the majority of its residents prefer to bus/subway/BRT to the car. The fact that NYC has chosen to adopt BRT technology is likely to influence other American cities to consider doing the same. In a country where the roads are the major public works projects in most places, upgrading bus lines to BRT technology could prove to be a more efficient transit solution than building light rails and subways, which require new and expensive infrastructures of their own.
However, the chances that you'll be taking the BRT line on your next visit to NYC may not be so great, as Mayor Bloomberg has linked the creation of additional BRT routes in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island to the passage of his controversial congestion charge idea, which has been bogged down in controversy for quite a while now.