About Bus Rapid Transit
So the hot topic these days seems to be Bus Rapid Transit or BRT. Let me explain why it’s so important for our city. Did you know Londoners are amongst the most prolific users of transit in the province? With 23 million trips taken by transit in London each year, we have one of the highest riderships per capita and one of the lowest municipal subsidies. Our system has grown to the point that it ‘s at capacity and requires some significant investment in order to keep it viable. BRT will allow us to build a transit backbone that can move people almost 35% faster and provide the opportunity to substantially reorganize the conventional transit system in order to better serve Londoners where they live and work.
As much as BRT is about transit, it’s also about building our city in a manner that’s sustainable. There’s no question that London has experienced the effects of sprawl and we’re taking action to address that so we can avoid pushing our borders out into some of the most fertile farmland in Canada that surrounds us. Fixed rapid transit routes are magnets for development and enhancing density. This helps avoid sprawl and allows for more efficient delivery of municipal services that, in turn, helps save you money in taxes.
The proposed corridors have been well thought out and are far superior to the alternatives. They are designed to serve our largest residential and employment nodes and they will support the growth of our business districts and help increase property value along the routes.
It’s essential that Bus Rapid Transit be economically sound. For comparison, one line of Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit or just one stop of Toronto’s subway extension each cost around $3.5 Billion. London’s BRT has a budget of $550 Million for 24 km of service (and that includes a 50% contingency worth $168 M). London has held a ‘Aaa’ credit rating longer than any city in Canada. It’s very important to us that we preserve that and this project is sensitive to that need.
London has been planning for rapid transit since 2010. This is not new, nor is it being rushed. Significant work has been put into developing the plan and the time to move ahead is now. I hope you’ll take the time to visit ‘shiftlondon.ca’ or contact me and learn more about this exciting opportunity for our city.