Kaid Benfield Archive


How a world-class transit line works - in Los Angeles!

Kaid Benfield

Posted March 25, 2009 at 1:31PM

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Clarence Eckerson, Jr. has produced a terrific little film on a highly successful BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) line in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.  Writing for Streetfilms.org, Eckerson introduces the film:

"Who would have thought that one of the best Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems in the U.S. would be in its most crowded, congested, sprawling city? Well check this out. It's really fabulous.

"In October 2005, the Los Angeles County Metro Authority (or Metro) debuted a new 14-mile BRT system in the San Fernando Valley using a former rail right-of-way. Unlike many "rapid" bus transit systems in the U.S., the Orange Line is true BRT - it features a dedicated roadway that cars may not enter, has a pre-board payment system so buses load quickly and efficiently, and uses handsome, articulated buses to transport passengers fast - sometimes at speeds approaching 55 mph! The roadway is landscaped so ornately you could almost call it a bus greenway.

"But that's not all. The corridor also boasts a world class bike and pedestrian path which runs adjacent to the BRT route for nearly its entire length, giving users numerous multi-modal options. Each station has bike amenities, including bike lockers and racks, and all the buses feature racks on the front that accommodate up to three bikes . . ."

The line has been immensely popular with riders, exceeding expectations on all counts.  But what I like best about Eckerson's terrific 5-minute video is that it is tremendously instructional about the details that separate a great transit line from a merely good one.  Enjoy: