25BRT Stations

In the dime stores and bus stations, people talk of situations, read books, repeat quotations, draw conclusions on the wall.in ‘Love Minus Zero’ by Bob Dylan, American singer-songwriter, 1941–

While mixed traffic capacity and performance is determined primarily by intersections, BRT capacity and performance is determined primarily by BRT stations. BRT stations are also the most visible and visceral part of the system - the main way passengers experience the BRT system. Stations are where the BRT system interacts with the city and its people. By virtue of repetition, it often becomes the symbol of the system. Between stations, BRT systems are perceived almost statical by passengers, but at stations, they board and alight, buy tickets, validate them and enter to wait. Passengers look for information. Buses have to approach and align with the correct place in the station. Stations are where everything comes together in the system and the efficiency of the station design and the technologies built into the stations are of primary importance to success of the system.

The primary purpose of a station is to allow passengers to board and alight BRT vehicles, so it must be designed to:

  1. promote access to the system;
  2. facilitate bus movement and minimizes bus delays, as it is the main bottleneck of the system.

The first means to serve as the main interface of the system for the users; to promote integration with the city transport system – mostly with the walking system but convencional bus, bycicle, taxi and car and eventually rail too. It also means promote integration between BRT services.

The second can be thought as ‘never allow BRT vehicles to congest in a station’. It will be bad for the users of that station and for the users that don’t use that station as well.

Stations are integral to the efficiency and the experience of the BRT system. As such, two components of the BRT basics – the most essential characteristics needed to qualify as a BRT according to the BRT Standard – focus on the station:

  1. Off-board fare collection [8 points]: This is a BRT basic. Off-board fare collection is one the most important factors in reducing dwell time at the station and improving the customer experience. It also reduces potential conflict on the bus as people negotiate payment with conductor or driver.
  2. Level boarding [7 points]: This is a BRT basic. Having the bus-station platform level with the bus floor is one of the most important ways of reducing boarding and alighting times per passenger. Passengers climbing even relatively minor steps can mean significant delay and an increase in safety hazards, particularly for the elderly, disabled, or people with suitcases or strollers.

The BRT Standard also has a subsection devoted to stations that totals 10 points and includes the distance between stations [2 points], having safe and comfortable stations [3 points], number of doors on the bus that facilitate rapid boarding and alighting at stations [3 points], the number of docking bays and sub-stops at the stations [1 point], and having sliding doors at the station to protect passengers from the elements and prevent fare evasion [1 point].

All these issues are addressed in this chapter. Facilitating seamless and efficient customer movements directly affects travel times, convenience, and ultimately customer satisfaction. This chapter provides an overview of key aspects of the planning and design of BRT stations.