Archives » December 10th, 2002

December 10, 2002

Bus of the Future

The City of Reno has unveiled their plans for a high-speed bus stretching the length of Virginia Street, running from the University and downtown to the center of the Shopping District, a distance of about five miles. Now, I’m a fan of mass transit, but a “high-speed bus”, on a “dedicated traffic lane”? That’s a new one to me. It reminds me of Seattle, where you head down into what you think is the subway only to find out that it’s a “bus tunnel”. Why do all the weird ideas involve busses, anyway? This is the freaking 21st century. Where are the Monorails and the PeopleMovers and the moving sidewalks? I feel like I’ve been cheated out of my future. A bus is still a bus, and a “high-speed” bus is just going to give people whiplash as it hits every red light in town.

With the new system, they’re hoping “to tempt folks who normally never would use a bus to keep their cars parked at home.” Well, most people in Reno live on the outskirts, so they’d still have to drive or take a regular bus to the center of town to catch the new bus. It might help people who work at the malls or the casinos—the folks who already take the bus—but I can’t see it drawing in new customers. I’m not the traffic engineer here, though. And the idea of seeing computer-guided bullet-nosed busses cruising down Virginia Street does appeal to my inner geek. It’s not bad as a first step, but the project just doesn’t seem ambitious enough to solve too many problems.