On the east side of Manhattan, the right BRT configuration would carry almost as many commuters as the Second Avenue Subway, for a fraction of the cost.For a fraction of the cost you get a fraction of the ridership and a fraction of the service. How many buses and how many Union wages would it take to get that level of service? Let's all imagine how much it would cost operationally to carry ~7 million daily subway riders on buses every day in addition to the 2.3 million people that already ride buses in New York. Let's see what kind of a city New York would be without the Subway. There is a specific crowding issue that needs to be addressed on the east side and if you amortize that $5 billion over the lifetime of the tunnels it is well worth the investment over centuries of use.
Instead of taking everything Walter Hook and the BRT/rubber tire/World Bank lobby say as gospel, how about talking to other people who have written a few books on the subject. Say a certain professor at UPenn who has written three tomes on transportation operations and planning.
Then how about talking about these issues:
Paying union wages for 30 second headways
Fumes that come from the buses because they won't electrify
Using more oil for IC engines
Roadway damage that will occur along the way
Replacing those buses every 12 years or sooner
Crowding that is acceptable in Curitba and Bogota
Speeding buses and pedestrians
Bus traffic sewers on the streets
Actually taking lanes from drivers when you can't even get road pricing
You want less people to ride transit? Then build inferior transit. In all actuality though, this country needs more Metro Subways. You know, the kinds of things they have in first world countries on the European continent. Washington DC is an example of a place that has developed more recently around the subway. Regions that build BRT will always be car cities. If you want to truely transform regions, we're going to have to think bigger.
I think a lot of people talk about Arlington County because of the great success it has had in development. Yet no one talks about what Atlanta was like on Peachtree just north of downtown or in the Buckhead area just north of there before MARTA. Not a lot of people seem to realize that San Francisco is much more dense now because of BART and Caltrain connections as well as the Muni Metro than it ever would have been without. In fact, certain companies have pushed the MTA in San Francisco to make Muni better or they will leave. They wouldn't be saying that if we had a system that actually worked.
The problem with places like San Francisco and Atlanta is that they didn't go far enough. They built a couple of lines and then stopped. If we truely want to see our cities transform, we need to go further and without BRT as THE substitute idea for Heavy Rail or Semi Metro Light Rail. It's an outrage to think that people actually think this is a real alternative to transform our cities and turn the population to transit. It's just us being cheap. We're already cheap with transit, and look where that gets us. To more people riding cars and more sprawl.