QUENTINSBURGH- For the first time, QUARTA is actually scaling back transit on the QLink BRT system- or at least the system as we know it today. QUARTA is planning on replacing several lines in favor of stronger forms of transit, which currently really only includes QLine Metro line 12, under construction to replace most of BRT lines B and C.
QUARTA’s CEO and head planners told PWN News that the BRT system has been successful so far, but not nearly as much as hoped. Ridership has reached near capacity on the main lines (B and C), but there’s still more demand than there is convenience. A single QLink BRT bus has about the same capacity as two traditional subway cars. That may sound okay at first, but a single car in a QLine Metro train has the capacity of TWO AND A HALF traditional subway cars, and as these cars are usually in groups of three on lines similar to the planned line 12, a Line 12 subway train will have the capacity of SEVEN AND A HALF traditional subway cars. Even with a high frequency, the math doesn’t really work out in favor of BRT. Many riders complained that it wasn’t any more convenient to ride BRT than drive, but that with higher tolls they had no choice.
BRT lines (excluding most of line X) also tend to have to deal with traffic lights and traffic, even if they are in dedicated lanes. Transfers to the subway network are generally more difficult as well, though just as cheap as subway to subway depending on the transfer and the pass.
Looking at all these facts, and the fact that Line 12, when complete, will replace the bulk of Lines B and C, planners decided the BRT was not the best solution for the region. However, the BRT system is not dead in any way. Line X, the eastern region’s Express BRT route, will be left very close to how it is now, with the possibility of even adding a loop and extension connecting Caroll Hill, Franklin Hill, Highfield and Sean Bond International Airport, since line 12 does not connect to Gillepsie and has no express service. Lines B and C will have route modifications, likely to run through the Greendale Meadows area, and will be made almost like a Tier Two service to assist the QLine Metro, not try to duplicate it. In addition, there are plans for a Line D connecting Sean Bond Intl., Southtown Mall, Stanley Shopping Center, the Geolympiad Complex, Caroll Hill and Franklin Hill and adding frequent service to Stanley Road and all of Greendale Meadows Road within city limits.
The new version of the system will still have all the big amenities that make BRT what it is, like level boarding, pre-boarding fare collection, dedicated lanes, and more; however, the system will be made slightly more like a high quality frequent service system to fill the gaps in QUARTA’s QLine Metro system. Stations (on lines B, C, and D at least) will likely be smaller and more quaint than before, and likely more frequent as well. The new system might not be best described as a full on BRT, but it is certainly a BRT quality frequent service network.
Some area citizens voiced their frustration on the new BRT system being downgraded, though they tended to be happy about getting a dedicated Metro route (12) and filling service network gaps.