CDTA released proposed maps for its planned expansion of the BusPlus bus rapid transit system. There's a map above (and a larger version).
The current BusPlus line runs along Route 5 between Albany and Schenectady (Central Ave in Albany and Colonie/State Street in Schenectady). The two proposed lines would run along two corridors:
+ Washington Ave/Western Ave in Albany and Guilderland, serving stops such as UAlbany (both downtown and uptown), Saint Rose, the Harriman state office campus, and Crossgates.
+ The "River Corridor," running from the Port of Albany north through Menands, Watervliet, over to Troy, and eventually in Cohoes and Waterford.
CDTA says Washington/Western (3.4 million annual boardings) and Albany/Menands/Troy (2 million annual boardins) are its 2nd and 3rd most-traveled corridors. The Route 5 corridor tops that chart.
The routes for the new lines are still in the proposal stage. There will be a public "open house" to get public feedback on the Washington/Western line on November 12 at UAlbany's downtown campus (5-7 pm, Milne Hall).
And, of course, there's the matter of money. The first BusPlus took about $25 million in funding to get going. CDTA is hoping to score federal money for the new expansion -- Chuck Schumer was in town to pledge help with that.
BusPlus launched in 2011, and the transit org says it helped increase the number of boardings along the Route 5 corridor by 20 percent. Earlier this year CDTA reported that its ridership in the last fiscal year was the highest level in three decades -- again, a rise the org attributed to BRT line.
The BusPlus service is kind of like an express line -- it includes fewer stops, and there's signaling tech that's aimed at moving the buses along faster. The stops (or stations) are a bit nicer, and the buses have wi-fi. It's $2 to ride, 50 cents more than a regular CDTA ride.
Bus rapid transit systems aren't really that common in the US, but they've been successful in other countries. And because of the cost and flexibility advantages, it's probably the closest the Capital Region will ever get to light rail.
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