BusPlus launches

busplus stationCDTA's new BusPlus service is now officially running along Route 5 between Albany and Schenectady.

BusPlus is a "bus rapid transit" system -- it features fewer stops than a regular route and "transit signal priority" at some intersections (that is, it gets to go through traffic lights), and upgraded stops. It's a bit like light rail -- but, you know, without the rails.

CDTA says the new Route 5 BusPlus line between Albany and Schenectady has 18 stops each way, as opposed to 90 stops on the regular line. It says the travel time should be shorter as a result.

The transit org says it picked Route 5 for the first line because it's the busiest travel corridor in the region and accounts for 25 percent of the system's boardings. It says it has plans to next expand the service to Western and Washington Avenues in Albany. There's a lot riding on BusPlus (pun intended) -- the total project cost for BusPlus is estimated to be $36.5 million (more than $16 million is coming from federal stimulus money).

The BusPlus fare will be $2 ($1.50 if you have a swiper card). But it's free the first two weeks. The buses are marked differently than the regular blue CDTA buses -- they're red and silver.

Has anyone tried it out BusPlus during regular service? We'd like to hear about it.

Comments

Passed one of the new grey and red BusPlus buses on my commute into Schenectady this morning on State St. Did a double-take as they look very different from the typical CDTA buses. In combination with the new BusPlus rider shelters, they are a nice looking addition to the Capital District mass transit scene.

Agreed that the face lift alone is a bright spot on those grumpy sidewalks.

I also saw the grey and red bus this morning and was impressed by it's good looks.

There's a YouTube video that shows the proposed changes to the Central/Wolf intersection and a demo of the 'transit signal priority' thing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUf0vMwaN4E

Seems like a cool idea. I turn right onto Wolf there every single day and I'm not sure how they are getting an extra lane without widening the road... maybe making the left turn onto Central sharper and narrowing the median?

I rode it today. It wasn't very different, aside from being free and I got a free baseball hat. The ride was a bit quicker, maybe by about 5-10 minutes, but I didn't take it all the way to Schenectady or anything. I think it's pretty cool.

I can already see Capital District drivers getting into trouble by going into the bus-only lane at lights. We need those raising pylons that only allow certain vehicles with a sensor.

Something like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKVBK-0veE8

This is part of Obama's High Speed Bus Plan, putting high speed transportation in cities where it will be too costly to build a rail system.

Video: http://www.theonion.com/video/obama-replaces-costly-highspeed-rail-plan-with-hig,18473/

Tell the folks that made the youtube demo that Macy's is not Macey's

An express bus between the 2 cities is a GREAT idea. But all they really needed was a sign in the front of a bus "Albany Express" or "Schenectady Express", instead of a special fleet and special bus shelters.

CDTA had promised they would leave existing Rt 5 bus service alone when they rolled out the express. Not true! (i-ride / i-lied!) There are twice the number of express buses hourly than local buses, those who need to get to local stations have had frequency of trips reduced, and worse yet, cash customers must pay DOUBLE if they are crossing Wolf Rd. So a kid living near Bryant-Stratton who works at Central Steak pays $3 for a 3 mile ride - 50% more than a passenger pays ($2) to ride 17 miles between the two downtowns, and double the passenger who rides the #530 Express park and ride bus from Glenville/Thruway exit 26 to downtown Albany.

Not Fare! (intentional)

There should be free transfers between Route 5 buses. Especially between BusPlus and local service.

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