BRT readies official launch up Gallatin Pike

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 2:04pm
Staff Reports


Beginning Sunday, Metro Transit Authority will put its much-ballyhooed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service into service.

Traveling up Gallatin Pike, covering 12 miles, this new BRT service operates from Music City Central to the edge of Sumner County, just north of RiverGate Mall. The goal of this first phase of BRT’s Gallatin Road corridor is too move riders faster using fewer stops, according to MTA.

“We wanted to begin this service on our busiest corridor, monitor it closely, and use it as a model before rolling it out to other major corridors,” said MTA’s CEO Paul Ballard. “Once fully-implemented, these BRT routes will be the best candidates to convert to light rail in the future.”

Passengers will experience fewer stops, more frequent buses and a greener attitude as they travel along one of Nashville’s busiest corridors on new 60-foot, articulated, fuel-efficient hybrid buses. BRT also can create a more convenient commute between downtown and northeast Nashville, according to Ballard.

On weekdays, buses will operate every 15 minutes until 6:15 p.m. and every 30 minutes after 6:15 p.m. Saturday buses will run every 30 minutes and Sunday/Holiday buses every 50 minutes.

During the second phase of BRT in spring 2010, more customer amenities will be added, according to MTA. For example, the intersections along Gallatin Pike will have Green Light Extenders installed that allow the traffic signals to stay green longer as a bus approaches. This will help buses travel even more quickly down the pike.

All of the BRT operations will be monitored from a central location by a dispatcher using a Global Positioning System (GPS) and adjusting the service schedule as necessary to accommodate any traffic delays or other problems. In addition, each station stop will feature new enhanced passenger shelters and digital displays indicating the arrival time of the next bus.

Once this new BRT service is fully implemented, a second high use corridor will be identified for implementation and funding.

To learn more about BRT stops, schedules and ticketing, click here or call 862-5950 or visit the Ticketing and Information Center at Music City Central.




6 Comments on this post:

By: JeffF on 9/23/09 at 1:10

why does this service have to go to downtown? Most people do not work or live there. Connection points to a web of lines scattered all over town has been proven to be more effective than the silly, outdated hub-and-spoke system. Of course if you did that then downtown advocates would not have another government investment sitting in their area. Suburbs may be wrong but urbanism borders on the insane.

By: Kosh III on 9/23/09 at 1:15

MTA has tried non hub/spoke routes in the past and the ridership was too low to sustain. They have one now which is being evaluated.

By: catenarykat on 9/23/09 at 3:44

This was basically a good article about a good new service. Not long ago, however, the City Paper ran a major article about BRT, and it kind of knocked what they're starting in Nashville--BRT "Lite"-- for not being "true" BRT. MTA is the first to admit that the BRT they're starting doesn't include all of the very expensive components and major construction that's required by "heavy" BRT.
So what? We wind up with wonderfully enhanced and improved bus service on the Gallatin route, whatever it lacks in comparison to a major metropolitan corridor. MTA is focusing funds and effort at improving our service immensely by gradually introducing components of basic BRT. It doesn't make sense to knock them for what we cann't possibly do in Nashville at this time.
Today, this otherwise informative article refers to a "much-ballyhooed" service. What's with the attitude?

By: JeffF on 9/23/09 at 4:04

It is a self-defeating activity to only throw out one or two non-spoke routes. A network is required and a one route network is guaranteed to fail. There are a lot of urbanists that would raise holy hell if their little tax-eating utopia was not the focus of each and every infrastructure system. How else explain the construction of a hub on the most expensive and least accessible land also not located in the geographic OR population center of Metro?

A hub only works when it is placed somewhere a majority of the customer base you are trying to attract needs to get to or from. Downtown is not an origination or destination for an overwhelming majority of the daytime or nighttime population of Davidson. The last thing you want to do with a hub is put it somewhere that is difficult to get in and out of quickly (turnaround).

Southwest Airlines has been a success for three decades by avoiding servicing the disastrously located hubs and by connecting the cities people really want and need to get to. MTA on the other hand continues to follow the paths of all the airlines who have filed bankruptcy or flopped in the last decade. Southwest didn't just throw up one route and decide that point-to-point wouldn't work. They built a gigantic network and grew it all the way to market dominance. I would bet that MTA has more carrying capacity and actual buses then Southwest has planes. They have more than enough capacity to jump the canyon and enter the world of customer service.

By: catenarykat on 9/23/09 at 4:35

Another point about the "ballyhoo." Of course it is "much-ballyhooed." That's also called "marketing."

By: Kosh III on 9/24/09 at 6:30

Do you actually ride the bus or just criticize it? How many of the public hearings that MTA held did you attend?
What point-to-point do you propose? Madison directly to Belle Meade? Antioch to Old Hickory? Vandy to Joelton?
I take the Gallatin Rd bus, many of the riders along with me are headed for work downtown. Probably 20% of the people in my highrise building ride the bus.