Beyond rapid transit by bus – Isthmus
The rapid transit system by bus championed by Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway has been in the spotlight of recent times. But there’s a bigger change coming much sooner for bus riders: Madison’s entire metro transit system is slated to undergo a complete overhaul by August 2022. That’s two years ahead of schedule. implementation of the BRT.
The city’s Transportation Policy and Planning Council has been working with consultants since March to create the new bus network. Ald. Committee member Grant Foster says redesigning all of Madison’s metro routes is needed to make BRT a reality.
âInstead of tweaking the outlines, we did a deep and comprehensive analysis to create a whole new network based on the BRT as the backbone of the service,â says Foster. âOur goal was to know how to deploy our existing resources, as efficiently as possible, to have the best and most efficient bus network for the city. “
Prepare for major changes in how buses operate in Madison. Tom Lynch, the city’s transportation director, said the overhaul could be “even bigger than BRT.”
“This is a fundamental reorganization of everything,” says Lynch, who notes that the city’s pursuit of rapid transit by bus means “we have to make this change.”
Guided by comments from the public and the transport council, the consultants published two “network alternatives“In August 2021. Madison Metro underlines on its website that” the two alternatives are realistic, but neither is a proposition. They are meant to show the extreme of what might be possible. The public is encouraged to take an online survey to give their opinion on the alternatives.
The ‘Passenger Alternative’ condenses nearly 50 existing routes down to just seven and eliminates the need for bus connection points. The advantage would be that 47 percent of Madison residents would have access to buses that run every 15 minutes; currently only 11 percent do so. But more passengers are expected to walk further to their stop: now 78 percent of all residents are within a quarter-mile of all-day bus service; this would fall to 43 percent under the ridership alternative.
The âCoverage Alternativeâ aligns more closely with the current bus network, but also eliminates routes, especially – but not exclusively – those that overlap with the BRT service. More residents would be within a quarter-mile of all-day bus service (81 percent). But only 43 percent of residents are said to be within a quarter-mile of buses that run every 15 minutes. It is still a significant increase compared to the current system.
Lynch predicts that the new bus network will be a merger of the two alternatives. He says the city will release a draft proposal for the network overhaul in early January and then seek more public comment. The Madison Common Council will ultimately have to approve the network overhaul, with a vote expected in March. The new bus lines would be operational in August 2022, with traditional buses mirroring BRT routes while the infrastructure for this system is being built.
Lynch expects the network overhaul to cause controversy, because “change always causes controversy.”
âI think there will be a lot of people who will be disappointed. But there are quite a few people who are disappointed with the bus system right now, âsays Lynch.