CAMPO Needs Updated Approach

RECEIVED Tue., Feb. 23, 2010

Dear Editor,
    Re: “Cap Metro Turns Toward a 2020 Vision” [News, Feb. 19]: I was disappointed to see that the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization had failed to come up with anything approaching state-of-the-art technology along Lamar. Various cities of the world, beginning with Curitiba in Brazil, have found that for buses to transport a large number of people, two things need to happen:
    1) They needed dedicated lanes so that they don't get stuck in traffic. If they had dedicated lanes, they would be much faster than cars, especially at rush hour, and attract significant ridership.
    2) Have a platform that people pay to get on before boarding a bus. With conventional bus service it takes several seconds per person for riders to swipe a card or fumble for a dollar bill. Paying to board a platform allows many passengers to board the bus in just a few seconds through several wide doors distributed along the length of the bus (as with a subway car).
    I would urge CAMPO members to inspect the highly successful, economical bus operation in Mexico City before spending millions of taxpayer dollars for a system doomed to fail. I volunteer to accompany any CAMPO board member or staffer who wishes to make such an inspection.
    Finally, such systems need not be confined to large cities. The city of León, also in Mexico, has such a system and is smaller than Austin.
Philip Russell
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