GRAHAM CITY- Yesterday, the Metropolitan Graham Transit Authority released final plans for the lane arrangements and design of their new BRT system. The struggling system chose a different method than many other systems in order to use existing ordinary buses to provide the new transit service.
Lane arrangement A is for former four lane roads with no middle lane that needed on street parking. It runs the BRT in the center of the road with platforms and on street parking in the middle lanes on each side of the road.
Lane arrangement B is going to be the most common in the system. It uses center platforms in the former center lane of five lane roads, while running the BRT lanes in the opposite direction of traffic.
Lane arrangement C is basically a regular street side bus stop for when the BRT is making a loop on smaller streets near the beginning and end of each route.
The reasoning for the oddly designed lane arrangements is the lack of funding to buy buses with doors on both sides. Using existing and newly purchased ordinary buses means all doors are on the right, requiring an unusual lane setup.
MGTA plans to just run regular buses and occasionally accordion buses very frequently (every 2-3 minutes during peak) to make up for the smaller bus size until they gain the means to buy better buses.
The Graham City Economic Crisis has been very hard on the city and the transit system. Most of the routes being created are to replace demolished old condemned elevated subway lines in the city, although a couple will follow new corridors that need better service. The nearly broke system normally would never be able to fund such a project if not for emergency funds provided by the federal government (taken from more successful and well off systems like Quentinsburgh’s QUARTA) and newly reallocated funds from elsewhere in the state. The hope is that as the city and the system get back on their feet that they will then be able to sustain themselves without being on ‘life support’ from the federal government.
Construction on the first two lines, both running along former subway corridors through important but poorer neighborhoods, will start in August. (A temporary service is already running on these lines.) The construction on those lines is expected to be done by 2018. MGTA hopes to have a strong system in place by 2020, in step with the city’s recovery from economic crisis.