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23 CHAPTER THREE HIGHER CAPACITY BUSES IN VARIOUS APPLICATIONS Three case studies will illustrate the use of HC buses in dif- The 45-ft coaches are used on Regional and skyRide routes. ferent contexts: All HC buses are also used for special services at sports events, such as Broncos Ride. ˇ Denver, Colorado--Regional Transportation District. ˇ Victoria, British Columbia--Victoria Regional Transit How Regional Transportation District System/BC Transit. Uses Higher Capacity Buses ˇ ChampaignUrbana, Illinois--ChampaignUrbana Mass Transit District. Several of the bus corridors have medium to high ridership and the RTD provides a combination of Local and Limited service for the same route path. Forty-foot buses are used REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION DISTRICT for the all-stop Local service and articulated buses are used (DENVER, COLORADO): HIGHER CAPACITY BUSES AS A COMPONENT OF A FAMILY for the Limited stop service. There is a companion Local OF SERVICES route for every Limited route. The 15 Limited is an exam- ple; its route map is shown in Figure 1. A 15 L articulated The Regional Transportation District (RTD) was created in bus is shown in Figure 2. This integration of types of buses 1969 by the Colorado General Assembly to plan and build a allows the slower accelerating articulated buses to maintain public transportation system for a six county area. Over the schedule speeds because the Limited stops are spaced far- years, the RTD has grown to become a large multi-modal ther apart. For the lower volume Local/Limited route com- public transportation provider serving a service area popula- binations, RTD uses 40-ft buses for both services. For the tion of approximately 2.5 million and an area of 2,327 square original M.A.N. articulated buses, RTD added 10% longer miles. The RTD serves 38 cities in the six counties and two running times for schedule planning compared with their city/county jurisdictions. RTD operates 1,071 total buses, of 40-ft buses. which 311 are HC vehicles (about 28% of the active fleet). The RTD operates three types of HC buses: articulated, 45-ft, Another use of articulated buses at RTD is Express ser- and a special purpose 45-ft mall-shuttle vehicle. The RTD vice. Many Express routes are characterized by inbound deployed M.A.N. articulated buses in 1983, and began using morning service with a few local stops in outlying communi- 45-ft coaches in 1997. Bus service is provided on 174 fixed ties or at park-and-ride lots, and then continuing nonstop routes, which are divided into Local, Express, Regional, Lim- (some have exception stop service) to one of the stations in ited, skyRide, and Circulator service classifications. Three downtown Denver. The afternoon service is essentially the center of city stations, Market Street, Civic Center, and Union reverse. Stations, are the hubs for all HC buses with stops in down- town Denver. An HC shuttle tying together the Market Street A few Express routes (e.g., the 120X) have high volumes and Civic Center stations provides mobility in the Denver throughout the day. These routes provide 10-min to 15-min downtown area. These stations are under street level reducing frequency service during peaks and 30-min service off peak street congestion and have off-board ticketing to facilitate between one of the downtown stations and various outlying quick boarding. All Local route buses remain at street level. municipality terminals or park-and-ride lots. A map for Route 120X is given in Figure 3 showing both the exception Why Higher Capacity Buses stop and the high-occupancy vehicle sections that facilitate and How Are They Used shorter running times. Also, note that the 120X inbound has an exception stop at Union Station. Figure 4 shows an RTD The three primary reasons why RTD uses HC buses are to in- articulated bus at the Wagon Road Terminal as a passenger crease the seating capacity for the higher volume services, loads a bike. save labor costs through increased operator productivity, and reduce vehicle requirements during peak service periods. One of the principal applications for using 45-ft buses is for Regional route services. Before federal legislation in the The articulated buses are primarily used on RTD's Lim- 1990s enabled the use of 45-ft buses on NN highways, RTD ited stop routes and for Express routes with high volumes. used a 40-ft intercity coach for the Regional route services.
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24 FIGURE 1 Map of East Colfax Limited, Route 15L. There are 18 Regional routes providing high quality service RTD's most popular Regional service is the Boulder B or from the larger municipalities in the RTD service area to a BX service, which is an exception stop service over the same downtown Denver station. Some of the Regional routes are route. The route map for the Bolder Regional is shown in designed to provide service between these outlying cities and Figure 5 and the Regional B bus is shown in Figure 6. various employment centers, with service generally operat- ing only on weekdays. The schedule frequencies are typi- RTD's second use of 45-ft buses is on the six skyRide cally 30 min, with service only provided during the morning routes. These routes operate between the larger RTD Park-n- and afternoon peaks. One of the Regional routes is extended Ride lots to the Denver International Airport (DIA), as illus- to a ski resort during the period of November through April. trated in Figure 7. One, the AF Route, has a scheduled stop at The 45-ft intercity bus cargo bays are ideal for transporting the Market Street Station on the way to DIA. Scheduled ser- ski equipment and luggage. vice begins as early as 3:07 a.m. and runs to 12:07 a.m. The service hours were chosen to meet the needs of airport em- ployees as well as airline customers. The marketing for skyRide service stresses the frequency, ease, comfort, and low cost transport to DIA for Denver area residents. The large cargo bays of the 45-ft buses offer easy transport of baggage. Three of the skyRide routes stop at the Airport Boulevard/40th Avenue Park-n-Ride as a last stop, and serve as a shuttle for those using the Park-n-Ride to the DIA termi- nal. RTD's Park-n-Ride lots are free and provide an alterna- tive to airport parking for local residents. Modification of Facilities and General Operational Information RTD uses mostly far side bus stops, with not much modifi- cation done to the bus stops other than ensuring adequate length for the articulated buses. The two downtown under- ground stations were built after articulated buses were in ser- vice and were designed to accommodate 45-ft buses in ten of the bays and articulated buses at the two end bays. The RTD FIGURE 2 Articulated bus on 15 Limited route. has seven bus maintenance facilities. RTD employees use
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25 FIGURE 5 Map of the Boulder Regional, Routes B and BX. FIGURE 3 Wagon Road/Thornton Express, Route 120X. the ends of the MallRide Shuttle. A Route 120X articulated bus operator commented that driving in the stations was easy. The operator, who had about 20 years of driving three, and three RTD contractors use the other four. Only experience, said that the articulated buses handled well, RTD employees operate HC buses. Because RTD has been but possessed slow acceleration capability. Apparently, a operating HC buses for more than 23 years, there were no available records of the costs of any modifications to mainte- nance facilities that were made to accommodate HC buses. RTD has no special training for articulated or 45-ft coach operators, except in-bus practice of entering the two downtown (Market and Civic Center) stations, which are at FIGURE 4 RTD articulated bus at Wagon Road Terminal. FIGURE 6 An RTD 45-ft Boulder Regional bus.