More News about Trams vs. Buses

Writing my previous post caused wordpress to amusingly automatically create a link to a pro-tram blog in Edinburgh (a very nice city that I have visited – I went to the Haymarket train depot of First Scotrail).

This link caused me to discover that similar discussions have been held in Edinburgh and West London precisely about this topic. They write about it far more elegantly than I ever could! The result – Trams are what are needed.
To be fair here is the other side of the discussion: Pro-Trolley bus

I have to say that the picture in the pro-trolley bus is more like a rubber-tired tram. These have been tried in a few French towns Clermont-Ferrand (home of Michlenin), Nancy (disaster of a project), and Caen with not very much success.  In fact these trams-on-wheels are no cheaper than a real tram.

Nobody is saying that trams should be everywhere in the city. They are desperately needed on the routes such as Cote-des-neiges, Parc, Pie IX, Notre Dame, Cote-Vertu/Henri Bourassa where buses cannot provide a quality service even though there is (at peak times) a bus every five minutes.
The problem in many cities is the “metro or bust” phenomenon.  Metro’s are only needed on routes where really high capacity is needed.  Anything else is served by buses.  Pushing metro extensions and nothing else generally ensures that the project doesn’t happen because the projected ridership is simply not there to make the project viable.  In the mean time, car use and urban sprawl continue to rise.

What is needed is a medium capacity service (at medium cost). That is where the tram comes in!

2 comments so far

  1. paul on

    i dont understand why everyone wants to see a tram line on cote-des-neiges. to meet the kind of efficiency the current rapid bus lines can’t those lines would have to have dedicated tracks. i can only see that happen on parc, st-joseph, pie-ix or notre-dame. cote-des neiges isnt wide enough as it is in my opinion. and the area is more than well irrigated in metro lines (it’s a 10 minute walk to the orange line to the west – get some exercise ! ..)

    also, speaking of pie ix, as you mention metro routes should serve areas where high capacity is needed. which is why i believe pie ix is more fit for a metro line than a tram line. all those commuters from the north east that clog the streets with cars and jam-packed buses could really use a quick transit line to the center of the city. unlike parc, which is more or less already at the center.

  2. Andrew Dawson on

    What is now the 535 bus route would make for a very good tram line!


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