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.