During his portion of the State of the Town address at Colonie Center, Capital District Transportation Authority CEO Carm Basile unveiled a new program called Busplus, or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) that will to make a 17-mile trip down the Route 5 from Schenectady to Albany in only 18 stops. It would be similar to that of a railroad service, he said.
We're studying the same thing on Western and Washington avenues, he said. "I think over time, in the next 10 or 15 years, that's really our big thing for the future. Bring bus service that looks like and mimics rail service, and I think development and job opportunities will follow that."
The program will be implemented on April 4. Basile said riders can expect it to be a more comfortable and efficient route. He said because there are fewer stops, everyone on the road will have a more fluid travel experience.
CDTA Spokesperson Margo Janack said the estimated cost for the BRT is expected to be $36 million, with $16.5 million already invested in infrastructure.
"We estimate that it will cost $2 million to operate the service annually," she said. "We are seeking additional funding to install the additional phases, which will take a few years to happen. It's not going to happen overnight."
The red and grey CDTA bus stops around town are part of the basic run of the service along with limited stop service. Janack said they are hoping to install wireless Internet on the buses and at the stations, along with real-time information for travelers so they know when the bus will arrive.
Janack also said CDTA is also hoping to implement fare kiosks, where riders can purchase their tickets right at the station instead of having the buy them on the bus and holding people up as they are receiving their change.