4:22pm

Mon June 4, 2012
Transportation

RTD: Bus Rapid Transit Not Your Typical Bus

Construction on Colorado’s first Bus Rapid Transit system begins next month along U-S 36 from I-25 to Table Mesa in Boulder. Once completed, the project will feature a new type of bus which is being displayed this week in Denver, Boulder and Longmont. 

RTD Spokeswoman Paulette Tonilas says the busses are more like an RTD rail car.

“It’s not a typical bus. It has low floor boarding, sets of doors that allow for quick loading and unloading. So we think it’s important for people to understand what a Bus Rapid Transit bus could be.”

CDOT Spokeswoman Mindy Crane says the joint project with the Regional Transportation District is just one of many improvements taking place during the $425 million project over the next several years.

“They’re going to have express lanes which, if you’re a solo driver, you can choose to pay a toll. If you’re carpooling, you can go free. There’s going to be Bus Rapid Transit that will utilize those express lanes to help commuters get to where they need to go a little bit quicker.”

Crane says CDOT will try to keep construction delays to a minimum; however the best chance for delays or closures could be during the overnight hours.

RTD says the first segment of the Bus Rapid Transit system will be complete by late 2014, with the 2nd segment opening by mid 2015.

Ames/Granite Joint Venture is completing the first segment with three additional teams vying to complete the second part of the project. Denver Access Partners, Plenary Roads Denver, and US 36 Development Partners have been shortlisted by CDOT with an announcement of the winning team planned for later this summer.

Click here to see a flyover of the entire US-36 BRT line.

Bus Rapid Transist (BRT) has also been discussed as a viable alternative to FasTracks commuter rail service from Denver to Longment. RTD's Tonilas says if it's decided that BRT is something the RTD board wishes to pursue, it would need to be approved by voters. With the board is not submitting a ballot proposal for the upcoming November election, commuter rail will continue to be the only option explored for the Northwest Corridor for now.