How Stockton’s Bus Rapid Transit improves public transportation and spurs economic development (Part 1)

Back in the roaring 20s, Stockton, like most cities of its size, had an extensive rail system, boasting 28 miles of track and as many as 40 streetcars. Taking public transportation was commonplace, with fares costing just five cents and trolleys arriving every five minutes. But as the 20s ended, the 30s ushered in the rise of the automobile. With most families now owning cars, the trolley system and its tracks were seen as a nuisance rather than a public good. By the end of 1941, the last streetcar vanished from the streets of Stockton.

Today, the car is king, and I know very few people who utilize public transportation in Stockton if they can use an automobile instead. Still, every now and then I hear friends and family longing for some form of rail system to reliably transport people around town. As you can read here, the idea of reviving Stockton’s street cars has been tossed around by some residents, and even by local government (in the form of light rail) back in the late 1990s.

But in the era of high costs and bankruptcy, how can local governments invest in transportation infrastructure that is both cost effective, reliable and attractive to the public? The answer: it already has, in the form of Bus Rapid Transit.

Courtesy Alice Van Ommeren- Stockton had a robust public transportation system in the early 1900s.

Bus Rapid Transit (or BRT) has become an integral part of the transportation networks of several major US cities, including Stockton. While not as headline-grabbing or glamorous as light rail or streetcar systems, BRT has become a very popular, and cost effective, transportation infrastructure option for cash-strapped cities as there are no tracks or electrical overhangs to install. BRT systems have been introduced in cities ranging from Seattle, Cleveland, Kansas City, and even nearby in Livermore.

San Joaquin RTD recently rolled out their new Hammer Lane Metro Express (route 43) service to go along with two other Metro Express routes (routes 44 and 40) running from Hammer Lane in North Stockton down Pacific Avenue, through downtown to the Stockton airport. For all intents and purposes, this new type of bus system can produce almost all of the same benefits of a streetcar or light rail system, at a fraction of the cost. So, why are most people unaware of this new form of transportation? To most, a bus is a bus, and the benefits of the BRT over a traditional bus system are not readily apparent to those who do not regularly utilize public transportation. To be sure, the differences between these two modes of travel are stark as BRT operates much differently, and many times more effectively, than a traditional bus line.

What’s so different between bus rapid transit and a normal bus line? For starters, BRT systems generally do not run on specific schedules. Instead, buses run at intervals, much more like a light rail or subway system would do. For example, Stockton’s service runs at 10 minute intervals during peak times, with 15 to 20 minute intervals during off peak hours. The Metro Express still technically runs on a schedule, but buses are more frequent. How are they able to do this? One reason is through the elimination of stops that regular, local buses would usually make. By placing routes adjacent to areas of interest, such as the University of the Pacific, the Miracle Mile or Delta College, the BRT acts much more like a rail system, picking up and dropping off at points of interest rather than making stops every few blocks or so.

Courtesy San Joaquin RTD- Metro Express 40 cruises down Pacific, providing many of the same benefits as a rail system, at a fraction of the cost.

Additionally, BRT buses utilize technology that gives buses signal priority at stop lights, meaning that once a BRT bus stops at a red light, the traffic signal will cycle through lights quicker to send the bus on its way. Another way BRT enhances the rider experience and improves on time performance is by having ticket stations at stops, instead of on board the buses. These stations enable passengers to purchase their fares before boarding, much like a light rail or subway, thus speeding up the boarding process. Stockton’s Metro Express routes include both of these features and then some, clearly distinguishing itself from standard bus services.

So how does Stockton’s Metro Express stack up to other systems around the country? Pretty well, actually. In a recent study, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined the features of 15 different BRT lines around the country, from cities as big as Los Angeles and New York City to as small as Reno and Albany, and SJ RTD’s Metro Express 44 line included most of the features generally present in BRT, more so than several other systems on the list. (Full disclosure, the GAO is actually my employer, though I did not work on this report, and I am not a part of the team that did the analysis).

How Metro Express 44 compares to other BRT systems in terms of BRT features

The cost is right, as well. Unlike many big transit projects, BRT systems are much cheaper to implement. Rail projects generally involve lengthy review processes, installation of new infrastructure and displacement of homes and businesses. BRT, however, can usually bypass the cumbersome review processes of rail systems, utilizing existing infrastructure. The only big, upfront costs are buying/maintaining buses and installing bus stops with ticket machines (Some BRT routes utilize dedicated street lanes, sometimes completely separate from roads, which would obviously add to the price tag. This is not the case here, as Metro Express uses the same streets as everyone else). The federal government also plays a role in building these projects, lessening the fiscal burden on local transit authorities. Stockton’s new Hammer Lane route was largely funded by grants from the Department of Transportation.

But in car-dependent Stockton, can something like bus rapid transit get more people to use public transportation? The answer appears to be yes. Since the introduction of Metro Express route 40, SJ RTD saw its ridership double along the Pacific Avenue corridor. Specifically, 26,367 passengers boarded Pacific Avenue buses in March of 2006. As Metro Express Route 40 replaced these traditional bus lines, ridership exploded, and in March of 2010, SJ RTD reported 55,320 riders, an increase of 109% from 2006. The launch of Metro Express Route 44 pushed these numbers even higher, and in February of 2012, over 100,000 boarded Stockton’s BRT system.

Furthermore, these enhancements in public transportation seem to put Stockton on par with other major US metro areas for transportation access. According to the Brookings Institute, The Stockton region ranks 29th nationally in “labor transportation rate,” a measure of the ability of workers to use public transportation to get to work, with 30% of the labor force able to get to work by taking public transportation within 90 minutes. Stockton also ranks 43rd in total transit coverage, with 74% of jobs located in neighborhoods with transit access. It should be noted, that when adjusting the scope to include the city areas of the Stockton region, these two statistics jump to 41% and 100%, respectively.

While the streetcar in Stockton is probably never coming back, Stockton’s new BRT system provides many of the same benefits: shorter wait times, quicker boarding, faster rides, and direct routes to Stockton’s featured destinations. Metro Express also uses hybrid buses, an important feature in an area with such poor air quality. Cities all over the country, and the world, have embraced the BRT concept with positive results. I am glad to see Stockton hop on the bandwagon.

But aside from moving people from point A to point B, the introduction of BRT may have an even more unlikely effect in Stockton: encouraging transit oriented economic development, a topic I will cover in part two of this series.

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Categories: Community Commentary, Transportation

Author:David A. Garcia

David A. Garcia founded SCL in March of 2012. He holds degrees from UCLA as well as Johns Hopkins University and currently works as the Chief Operating Officer at Ten Space in Downtown Stockton, and previously worked as a researcher/analyst for a congressional agency in Washington DC. The views expressed here are solely of the author.

15 Comments on “How Stockton’s Bus Rapid Transit improves public transportation and spurs economic development (Part 1)”

  1. August 9, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    But how can you make the same citizens who fear loss of prestige or social status if seen in the wrong supermarket, ride the bus?

    • Stockton City Limits
      August 10, 2012 at 8:25 am #

      Dean,

      You bring up a very important point, which I left out of my article. For many, especially in the US, there is a stigma against using public transportation, especially buses. There will always be a subset of residents who prefer to use their cars, even if there is a remarkable transportation system in place. This is true of DC, New York, SF, etc. The good news is, I don’t think we need for everyone to use public transit for public transit to be effective. The bigger issue is, do we have a choice? And I think, for many in Stockton, public transportation did not seem like a practical choice for their needs. With the introduction of BRT, I think more people will be able to see public transit as a more viable transportation option because of the improvements in efficiency I mention in the article. There will always be people who don’t want to, or don’t need to, take public transit, and that is fine. But BRT has brought more options and has at least gotten more people to consider public transit in Stockton. As we can already see, with the increase in ridership, the introduction of BRT has expanded the pool of people who utilize public transportation.

      • August 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

        o.k. as you please.

        But let me point out a classic trap many fall for when we talk about sustainable development (deviating from rapid transit for a moment).

        Say, a developer has 100 acres of land @ the edge of the city. The development that induces sprawl is the typical 4.3 units to the acre model. Therefore the “sprawl scenario” for this property would the approval of 430 units (4.3 units/acre X 100 acres). In order to trick you the developer now says “look, I am going to dedicate 50% of the project to open space and will build 430 units on the remainder 50%).

        The public and politicos who are not experienced is such matters, say “oh, look this is a fantastic design. Lots of open space and some housing which now has the feel and look of 8.6 units to the acre on the remainder space”. But such assessment is nonsense of course, because the only density that matters is the project’s overall density of 430 units on 100 acres which is the same old sprawl recipe. Therefore zero deviation from sprawl, just re-arrangement of furniture if you wish as an analogy.

        What Stockton ought to be doing for land not yet developed is to impose a minimum density of double the typical density of 4.3/units per acre on the basis that higher densities are enemies of sprawl rather than promoting lower densities which are enablers of it. For our example, the density required would be 8.6 units per acre or 860 units required on the 100 acre land piece. If the developer still wants to promote 50% open space then he/she has to build 17.2 units per acre on the remainder 50% so that the overall density is still 8.6 units per acre.

        If Stockton did impose such an anti-sprawl policy, then the remaining land – not yet built – would produce 60,000 paper lots instead of the 30,000 paper lots today. And therefore Stockton would not have to grow beyond its current boundaries nor induce any further sprawl. The valuable commodity here is land. And to the extent Stockton’s planning gives land away for sprawl developments, then Stockton will be hooked to the sprawl model for the foreseeable future.

        However, under no circumstances you should allow ourselves to be “impressed” by gimmicks such as open space and design features hiding the same old sprawl recipe behind them. To kill sprawl you increase a community’s minimum density required per planning code. It’s that simple.

      • Stockton City Limits
        August 13, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

        Dean,
        As always, you bring up an important point (though I am not sure what BRT has to do with this). Nevertheless, I do think there are some who get suckered into to kind of thinking you mention. Further, there is much more to sustainable development than just the density. There are a variety of factors that go in to creating good communities, and while density is indeed an integral factor, it is only one part. Density means very little if residents still need to drive several miles to get to their destinations. It is less about cramming as many units you can into an acre, and more about creating whole communities, wouldn’t you agree?

      • August 14, 2012 at 5:30 am #

        David:

        The comment has nothing to do with BART. Rapid Transit in CA is a whole other topic. That’s why I wished you good luck with it.

        And no, let’s not avoid 80% of the issue and instead talk 20% peripheral issues such as “other” things that make communities. Communities is DENSITY. The highest density possible. Such is the image of all global centers such as New York, London, Hong Kong, San Francisco you name it. That’s how successful communities project themselves. Through density and primarily density. The other stuff comes in later because with density comes RT, like in Tokyo’s case. You can’t implement RT in any meaningful way without density. It’s kind of elementary don’t you think? Because if you think that rapid transit has any successful applications in sprawl central valley then start naming names of communities (please spare us mediocrity) and use specific examples backed up with hard numbers and statistics. Can you name any other city or community in Cental Valley including Sacramento that rapid transit has been successful? Because I don’t think there is any.

        Are you suggesting again that Stockton will fabricate another issue of “leadership” when every issue touched by Stockton has turned into an abysmal failure?

        Why don’t you address issues of demographics, type of employment instead other than superficial cosmetic issues?

        Here are the key issues you need to address:

        1. What % of the primarily Hispanic and Asian new demographic in Stockton has local jobs and what kind of jobs?
        2. What % of Stockton residents overall constitute the bedroom community segment?
        3. What % of total employment in Stockton (defined as the sum total of all residents jobs) is local vs. outside the area?
        3. What is the typical distance traveled by local residents, employed locally and which parts of the city generate what % of the total local employment traffic(broken down by type of employment? As an example take any part of the city, say Morada, and show local employment trips broken down by type of industry).
        4. What city’s example with similar characteristics Stockton is trying to emulate in transportation? What’s the role model?
        5. Explain the rankings in transportation from Brookings et al. How is it possible for a community that generates 30% local employment and 70% outside city limits to ever acquire such rankings? Are you ranking only the local segment?
        6. Finally, where is the data. All of the data and the qualifications of the data?
        7. When you talk about ridership patterns on Pacific Ave, what % is student related? More than 50%? What are we talking about here? A bunch of students jamming bus stops in the vicinity of Delta college and UOP? Clarify your numbers please and just don’t throw them out in bunches of total numbers. Because as such they are meaningless.

      • Stockton City Limits
        August 14, 2012 at 9:00 am #

        Dean, I like that you challenge me to explain my positions, it forces me to come up with responses and learn new things.

        Regarding BRT, you seem to be implying that I am advocating for BRT in Stockton, when the reality is, it already exists. The best example of BRT in the valley is Stockton. The most obvious measure of whether or not a transit project has succeeded or not is ridership, and in terms of pure numbers, you cannot deny that ridership has increased when looking at SJ RTD’s numbers. I don’t have access to their data, so I can’t offer you a demographic breakdown of their riders, but why does it matter? It seems that students riding the bus is a negative to you, when in reality, it is these institutions (colleges and medical facilities) that provide jobs and access to educational attainment, why would it matter if the increase is purely driven by those whose destination is Delta College or UOP (which, by the way, is purely speculative on your part, without the requisite data to buttress your assertions). BRT works by getting all people to these large activity centers, and it appears Metro Express is doing exactly that, meaning total ridership numbers are not meaningless, as you erroneously suggest.

        I won’t spend too much time explaining Brookings’ methodology, it is not my report. Though, here are the specifications used in the report: Destinations, coverage, labor access, education. The disconnect may be that they examine “the share of metropolitan population…that can each the TYPICAL job in 90 minutes of travel,” meaning they aren’t actually surveying a bunch of employees about their commute. This captures the potential to reach jobs in a given area through public transit. You can take a look at the full report here:

        http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Research/Files/Papers/2012/7/transit%20labor%20tomer/11%20transit%20labor%20tomer%20full%20paper.pdf

        Where does 30% local employment come from? The Stockton metro region has about a 262,000 people employed, are you implying that there are only 78,000 of those jobs are in the region (you have to use metro numbers here, a local economy does not happen solely within city limits) ?

        As for the questions of demographics and employment, census data does not readily provide this, and I don’t have the time at the moment to sift through unsorted data to come up with a cross tabulation. A quick search, however, does reveal that there is no one industry that defines Hispanic and Asian populations at the state level, though this does not mean this holds true in the Central Valley (and these numbers appear to omit farm labor). The average commute time in Stockton is around 29 minutes, though, again, without cross tabulating, I can’t give you a breakdown of the commuting times by employment center or industry.

        As for density, I will have to disagree. Density, while important, is not the be all end all of planning. You can’t just cram people into small acreage lots with no other amenities nearby. People don’t live in cramped apartments in big cities because they like to, they do it because its close to the things they enjoy. Moreover, it is unfair to compare Stockton in terms of density requirements to Tokyo, New York or SF. Stockton does not need the kind of density approaching what these other cities have. You are right, certain rail projects do require minimum densities to be successful (in terms of being financially solvent). These same minimums do not apply to BRT systems as the costs are much lower, and if service drops, they can just cut bus routes pretty easily.

      • August 14, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

        David:

        I think we both need to clarify what we meant.

        My knee jerk reaction in anything of public nature in Stockton is that is subsidy-driven or of the mentality that fosters subsidy.

        So, the first issue we need to examine in public transportation projects is what % of funding comes from what coffers and whether there is a genuine demand behind it or is it artificially driven because the state&federal money is there and therefore the reasoning becomes that we better spend such monies before they become unavailable or even withdrawn.

        Second, let’s understand what makes such projects profitable. What’s the break-even point? what’s the ridership typical profile?

        You are asking me whether I have a problem if students or anybody else are riding the Pacific Avenue corridor. And the simple answer is: Yes, I do. Because if it is a transportation service we are providing to students or retired geezers in riding around parts of the town, then I have to say that this has nothing to do with employment and therefore type of housing because neither of these two groups drives any particular new infill development. Students are transitory and they reside in housing in an around campus but produce very little for any economy because they don’t have the spending power yet. Geezers on the other hand have a house or if they get a new one it would be in some of the age-restricted enclaves which brings all the services to them including medical and daily entertainment.

        Therefore, I fail to make the immediate connection as you do that increased ridership numbers are of any consequence. To say that they are of consequence we need to understand the customer better. And this is information (aka customer profile) that is chronically missing in any Stockton conversation about anything. People just make assumptions based on own observations or something they have heard but very few – if any – could produce any quality data in these matters.

        If I were to act on observation alone, I would say that the BART system is heavily favored by students on transportation matters that really belong to their respective campuses and not for the city to provide. Therefore, I smell another misplaced subsidy here. Just like the theater downtown, the now closed P. restaurant downtown, the ball park and the arena downtown; the common denominator of all these projects is a hidden but substantial public subsidy which in the end is not even enough to avert failure.

        I hear you on the part that is not necessary to produce really high density projects (which BTW are a clear sign of economic vigor and modernity) and that Stockton might be o.k. with medium densities instead but the problem again is that 80% of Stockton is low density sprawl and perhaps 20% of medium density and above.

        Therefore the question here is whether you are putting the cart in front of the horse(a longstanding Stocktonian tradition BTW, so nothing to make you feel particularly ashamed about it) in declaring BART a pre-cursor to some type of in-fill development.

        So that you understand where I am coming from. If there is one Stocktonian behavior pattern which aggravates me the most is this pre-occupation with appearance and not the substance of any given issue. And it’s precisely this adherence to fabricated realities as well as the inability to zoom into the essential that has made Stockton a repeat candidate for failure.

        Therefore, we need to stop talking about systems or applications that might bring about a behavioral change in Stockton. It’s not gonna happen. Only a thorough examination and understanding of the root causes of failure will accomplish such.

        My suggestion is again that we should learn our demographic in depth and in demonstrable ways of perfection. Unless we understand the life and work patterns of Stocktonians in the 30-40 year old range we are going nowhere. Absent this important demographic, Stockton becomes a city of the young or the very old and these two age groupings have completely different needs plus they tend to free ride on city services.

        Plus I have a strong suspicion that this important demographic is mostly employed elsewhere, other than Stockton. Therefore we have this weird case here of trying to design a city for its least productive elements while out-competing in the process via subsidies and other artificial means to service a segment that ought to have one of the least important inputs in the process. We certainly are not going to design Stockton for students or seniors. Therefore, the key question becomes who are you designing Stockton for? and how well you know such demographic? My preliminary assessment is that we don’t know such demographic well enough. Only tangentially but not in depth. We have evidence that suggests that such demographic is heavily Hispanic and Asian but I see no evidence how these two groups are stakeholders in Stockton’s design.

      • Stockton City Limits
        August 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

        Dean,

        I hear your points, I think we were arguing two different sides. You see students and the less mobile and, understandably, see a demographic that does not drive demand for homes. This particular article (though I move to infill development in my latest post) deals much more with transit patterns, and the benefits of BRT are pretty clear here: More cars are taken off the roads, emissions are reduced and the less mobile have a more attractive transportation option. If it’s a student driver or a lawyer driving to work downtown that is taken off the road, there is no difference in terms of the benefits I just described. BRT, works by utilizing areas with high activity, of which colleges and universities easily qualify.

        I also disagree with your assertion that students have nothing to do with employment. While the students themselves are not employed, the institutions they are going to employ many workers, both blue and white collar. It is important to remember that these new routes serve workers as well as students. Universities and hospitals are big drivers of employment in many cities, including our region. Many of these jobs are professional positions, the exact demographic that does drive housing demand. Furthermore, let’s not forget that while students don’t buy houses, they do have an impact on the rental market, and can drive demand for apartment development. Not all housing has to be single family homes for sale.

        Aside from benefits or drawbacks of students using a transit system, how do we know it is only students? Again, I don’t have access to the data, but it is unfair to make the assumption that the Metro Express is only shuttling students around. Additionally, you also have to understand that all transportation systems are subsidized because they are in essence a public good. Further, a BRT route should make more sense to you in this case, since the costs are much lower than a rail system, and appear to be mostly covered by federal grants.

        I absolutely understand the anti-subsidy sentiment that you and most other Stocktonians have because we have been burned before by hugely generous (to put it lightly) tax breaks and subsidies for projects that were unnecessary. And with the city’s financial outlook, there is no way the public would stand for any similar subsidies. But let’s be clear here, these subsidies for big projects downtown are not the only form of subsidies going on here: big developers have been subsidized for years and years for their developments on the periphery. By agreeing to build new roads, sewers, street lights, water hook ups, etc, the rest of the city essentially subsidizes new projects by having to chip in for these new services, even though those who live far from these areas see no benefits themselves. Just like someone who pays taxes for an arena they never go to, Stocktonians who live in older neighborhoods will probably never use the sewer hook ups or water from the new delta project that those in the new communities in the North benefit from, even though those in older neighborhoods will help foot the bill.

        I think there are two issues here in terms of planning for Stockton: figuring out what people here want, and also understanding what bay area transplants will want as well, since they will inevitably resume their exodus into the Central Valley once the market gets better. Since you work in this field, how does a city or a developer go about figuring out what people want? I don’t mean a market analysis of existing projects, I know what that entails. How can you figure out what new and existing residents want if there have been no other options besides tract housing for years?

  2. Bill Fuhs
    August 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    Careful you guys…….. I am certainly one of the old “retired geezer” that Dean speaks of. Been retired 14 years which has allowed me to use public transit in the Bay Area, DC, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Paris, London, Portland, Seattle, NY………… all for the same purpose; to ride my bike. Make Stockton bike friendly, and I will stay home more.

    Thanks for the tip on Route 43, we will be trying it out (hope it stops at Trader Joe’s).

  3. August 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    Joe says: Curitiba, Brazil is an excellent example of the feasibility of implementing a BRT system!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curitiba#Urban_planning

  4. Mark Cartwright
    March 13, 2013 at 11:59 pm #

    For the most part, I have absolutely no interest in ever riding a Rapid Bus from one end of Stockton to the other. However, if someone would come up with a plan to run a rail trolley from one end of downtown say from the ACE station, past Greyhound, to the Marina, up a wider street like Madison further up Pacific to UOP., displacing cars as it hopefully would – replace some of this sprawl and low life with quaint and nostalgic…Then count me in. We can’t just throw money at Stockton and speak of things which have no bearing on our quality of life here, along with our crime and unemployment. We need to attract quality people, not just more people on parole and their families on Welfare. . In my opinion we need to slow down and not speed up. Who cares if I can get to Wal Mart faster than a normal bus? What is in it for me? NOT one thing. However, if you could revitalize Downtown Stockton with quaint shops and good restaurants, along with open Cafe’s? Am I talking about Vienna? Paris or even Prague? Perhaps San Francisco, might give you a clue. Sadly No, I am talking about Crime – Low Life Stockton and we need serious concentration on uplifting our spirits here…There is one post here I believe speaks to this. Being able to ride a bike. A Rapid Bus System only makes that activity far too dangerous. Show me a well designed Trolley System, which will create Quality of Life in Stockton and we can talk about your Rapid Riderless Bus System to Wally World. I ain’t getting on a bus here in Stockton, unless I am carrying too. Or are you not serious enough of what you speak, to know what goes on your buss system here? I want a system, I would be proud for my Mother to ride on, and sorry people this is not it.

    • David Garcia
      March 14, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

      Hello Mark,

      Thanks for the comment. I think a trolley system would be a great addition, many other cities smaller than Stockton are investing in them. As you correctly note, trolleys can spur economic development and act as an incentive for bringing not just professionals but companies to the area. However, these systems can be costly, especially if implemented incorrectly. Also, while a trolley system would be great, Stockton lacks to requisite density to make the system feasible, at least at the moment. I can imagine a scenario in the future where the revitalization of downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods to the north has increased the area’s density to the point where a trolley system could be considered. But right now, that would be putting the cart before the horse, at least in my experience looking into transit systems. For Stockton, BRT helps to increase ridership, and SJRTD’s numbers reflect this. Ideally, this means less drivers on the road, something you said you would prefer.

      As far as attracting those “low lifes” on “welfare,” I don’t agree with these characterizations. Stockton has a significant percentage of the population living in poverty, but that doesn’t mean they do not deserve a quality bus system. While you may not be interested in riding BRT, it is a relatively cost effective way to increase ridership. While my mother doesn’t use this system, either, you shouldn’t down play the positive aspects of an improved transportation system, even if it isn’t what you would personally use. If a “parolee” can’t afford a car, but needs a way to get to a job, BRT might help them get there, and therefore they can retain their job and are less likely to commit a crime.

      I have not taken the BRT in Stockton very much, but I felt safe every time. Granted, this is a small sample size, but I would argue that one has a lower chance of encountering harm on a bus with other patrons than in a car where the potential for an accident is higher; More people have died in car accidents in Stockton this year than have been murdered. I do not think anyone has been murdered on a BRT bus, ever. You also can’t get car jacked in a bus. Though I would be interested to see SJRTD crime stats, if they exist.

      In the future, a trolley line could be a key element of Stockton’s transportation system and I hope to see the day where a system like this can be implemented sooner rather than later. A comprehensive plan laying out not just a trolley line, but identifying the development opportunities surrounding the line, would go a long way in elevating Stockton’s status. For now, given the region’s budgetary constraints, BRT delivers pretty good bang for the buck, even if the majority of the population that will continue to use their cars.

      (sidenote: admittedly this article is not very well titled, because the “modern street car” isn’t a BRT system, it would be an actual current street car system).

  5. Jefferystephens
    February 12, 2017 at 6:52 pm #

    I wish we,d run there buses later stockton

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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