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Buses are probably the most common and most used form of public transit. Compared to the various rail solutions, buses are cheaper and more flexible, because they aren’t tied to a pair of rails (or a single rail in the case of monorail). Bus routes can easily be altered and added, and buses can detour around accidents or construction, or a stalled car.
However a driver is required for each bus (and in some systems a conductor is also required). Buses have a smaller capacity than trains. Most buses also use diesel oil for fuel, although some use other fuels. The major exception is electric trolley coaches, which are like other buses except they travel under a pair of electric wires, and a pair of trolley poles on top of the bus make contact with the wires for power.
I break down bus service into three main categories: local bus service, express bus service, and rapid bus transit (BRT).
Local bus service is the usual bus service with stops every two or three blocks, so that there everyone along the route has only a few minutes walk to the nearest stop. MORE--->
Express bus service is for faster service over a longer distance, usually where there are more riders. The stops for express bus service are further apart so the buses are not slowed down as much by frequent stops, and express buses may also use expressways, motorways, or freeways for part of their route. Typically people use express service between two points, and use local buses between those points and their actual destination. MORE--->
Bus Rapid Transit, usually just known as BRT, are a poorly-defined express bus service that is faster than other bus services. Some people would refer to any express bus service as BRT. I prefer to reserve this classification for a system in which the buses use their own dedicated roadway and the buses and stations are designed such than the bus floor is at the same level as the station platform. MORE--->
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©2003 Robert M. Fleming Jr.
This page was last updated 15 May 2008.