New bus rapid transit plan to be considered

With Madison Metro bus ridership growing, a draft study funded in part by a federal grant suggests a 21-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) plan for Madison would provide relief for the existing transit system, cut travel times, and help the local economy, but it could also cost between $150 million and $200 million to implement and operate. At first pass, the idea – which includes high-frequency, high-capacity, limited-stop services – is being enthusiastically received by Mayor Paul Soglin and others. The current system and bus garage are unsustainable, according to Madison Metro.

The study suggests Madison Metro use 60-foot-long, three-door buses that bend at the center and offer Wi-Fi, onboard bike storage, and technology that could extend green lights at intersections. Routes, revised in many cases, would move transit services to areas where the most riders live and travel, and could include dedicated lanes in the median or painted lanes that could eliminate parking along some stretches. The system could also include BRT stations with shelters, benches and lighting, and even ticket vending.

A public information meeting about the study will be held on Monday, April 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Madison Senior Center, 330 W. Mifflin St.