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January 14, 2013

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Rapid bus system to start in suburbs

SHANGHAI will start this year to build its first Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT system, a faster and more efficient bus service with its own dedicated lanes inaccessible to other traffic, officials said yesterday.

The system will first be built in suburban areas as the city struggles to ease congestion.

The first BRT is expected to be seen starting from the suburban Fengxian District and linking to the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in the Pudong New Area along its route of more than 40 kilometers. Metro Lines 6 and 8 have stations close to the sports center.

Traffic officials did not say exactly when the construction work will begin.

The BRT system, commonly seen in other cities in China like Beijing and Xiamen, has been difficult to get started in Shanghai though it has been talked about a long time.

The main problem is limited road space, especially downtown.

"We need BRT but we still lag behind," said Jiang Peishun, an official with the city's public transport industry association. Jiang said it's good to start BRT in suburban areas like satellite towns and gradually move into the downtown.

Shanghai traffic has continued to grow with more vehicles and commuting volumes. About 17 million people commute each day on average - 45 percent take buses while 36.6 percent use the Metro.

The city's current bus-only lanes are not segregated from other traffic.

The lanes, 160 kilometers long in total, are often occupied by other vehicles during peak hours.

Nevertheless, the city plans to add another 80 kilometers by the end of 2015.

Compared with the subway system, BRT has its advantage of relatively low costs.

The city once planned to build 100 to 150 kilometers of BRT lanes by 2010 but the project was halted by disagreements among officials.

More bus routes will be opened to ease complaints from people who cannot find a bus in their communities to take them to a Metro station.


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