San Francisco’s new bus rapid transit routes on Van Ness get rave reviews – CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – This is a project that took many years and caused a lot of headaches, but it seems to be working. San Francisco’s Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project was approved in 2013 and finally started in May. Now many people are already calling it a success.

Buses, even though they have to stop for lights, don’t get stuck in traffic,” said Hellen, aboard 49 Geary Tuesday. “So they go up and down Van Ness smoothly. It’s much faster and the ride is smoother.

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Making her regular trip from Union Street to Mission, the Muni regular says the new lanes have made a huge difference.

“I would say up to 15 minutes, which is a lot,” Hellen said. “I did not expect that.”

“We’re getting about a 30 percent speed improvement in one direction, and about a 15 percent speed improvement in the other direction,” said SFMTA Transportation Manager Jeffrey Tumlin. “We are getting a dramatic improvement in reliability.”

According to the SFMTA, just about everyone, including drivers in their new designated lanes, finds the new arrangement an improvement. Muni’s runtimes are even better than expected and more tinkering will likely improve times further.

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“And that’s important, because if you’re trying to get your kids to school in the morning, like before, with all the traffic,” said Muni runner Juthaporn Chaloeicheep. “It was hazardous.”

As for the decade of construction, Muni says what was learned on Van Ness is already being used on other projects.

“So for us, one of the lessons is ‘go fast,'” Tumlin said. “Use our fast build techniques focusing on the surface. So I’m working on Geary, and on Taraval, and on 16th Street, I get almost the same benefit, about 20% speed boost, at about a tenth of the cost.

“Well, I live on Van Ness and the years they worked there were kind of nightmarish,” Hellen said of the build. “But I have to say yes, I really like the fastest ride.”

Better service brings more passengers. Muni says traffic along this corridor has increased about 15% since they rolled out the red carpet.

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