Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year, marked the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Gold Standard Guangzhou BRT. When it opened, the system revolutionized bus rapid transit with its high capacity and ‘direct service’ model. Five years later, the Guangzhou BRT continues to serve 850,000 passengers daily, integrates many additional transport improvements, and heavily influences the planning and design of BRT systems worldwide.
To mark the occasion, ITDP and the BRT Operation and Management Company hosted an exhibition celebrating the system and exploring its impacts. On display are images demonstrating the dramatic improvements to safety and efficiency along the corridor. Where before, chaotic, overcrowded buses traveled in congested streets, today buses on dedicated lanes ferry riders quicker, safer, and more comfortably to their destinations. Accompanying the exhibition, Guangzhou’s main news channel broadcast a three day series on the BRT (links and times below). The series reviews the system’s operations, interviews BRT users on the benefits it brings, and discusses how the system has improved real-estate and commercial activity along the corridor.
The exhibition is housed in a pedestrian tunnel along the corridor. Connecting the Tiyu Zhongxin BRT station with a busy shopping center, the tunnel itself is a prime example of Guangzhou’s integration of BRT stations with surrounding commercial areas. In addition to the Guangzhou BRT’s high quality design, including passing lanes at stations and at-grade boarding, the corridor features one of the world’s largest bike sharing programs, Gold Standard TOD projects, on-street parking reforms, and pedestrian safety improvements. By achieving improvements in multiple areas along a single corridor, the benefits of each are magnified.
At the exhibition, citizens were invited to write notes about their experiences on the BRT. Users left comments appreciating the systems benefits (“Thanks, BRT, for speeding up our travel! I take the BRT everyday for commuting, it saves me so much time!”) and encouraging the city to expand it (“Hope to implement a second BRT as soon as possible!”). As surveys show, the BRT has remained extremely popular with riders and scores high marks on reliability and safety.
With BRT continuing to expand around the world, the strength of the Guangzhou BRT demonstrates the benefits high quality systems bring to cities and to riders. The system has fast become an important part of the city’s transit network, and it is still going strong.
See photos from the exhibition below, or see the full set on Flickr.
Watch the three part series about the BRT aired on Guangzhou’s main news channel:
February 10: Segment on BRT operations begins at 23:30
February 11: Segment on the impacts of the BRT along the corridor begins at 13:30
February 12: Segment with interviews with daily passengers begins at 26:00