The transportation idea that has been making the internet rounds this past weeks is the “straddling bus“. The idea is to combine the best (worst?) of buses and trains to simultaneously preserve auto traffic. The bus would run on tracks or guided lanes above moving cars on a typical road and connect to above ground stops to let passengers on and off.
Consider me unimpressed. I admit that it is thinking outside the box. However, if we’re going to go through the cost of building tracks, why not just build a train? It has to be cheaper to build and operate than this behemoth. Again, if we’re going to build dedicated stops, why not just run bus rapid transit or a train? Isn’t that easier?
What I hate about this idea is that it prioritizes the movement of cars. Haven’t we already learned that it is a mistake to build cities that depend on cars first and foremost? Let’s build transit systems that encourage citizens to utilize public transportation first, rather than as an alternative.
The last part I do not trust about this concept, is the skill of the drivers passing through and around this giant machine. I work for the Chicago Transit Authority’s law department currently and I can tell you that the CTA’s buses and trains get into an awful lot of collisions with bad drivers, or just because there is a lot of traffic. I would not trust drivers to successfully navigate around and through this hulk. It is sure to be dinged, bumped, or straight-up collided with on a frequent basis, drawing all positive attributes to a screaming halt.
I appreciate transportation ingenuity, I welcome it. I just hope no city dedicates its resources to these unwieldy wheels of innovation.