Re. "Rapid bus as Evergreen link: Moore" (The Tri-City News, Jan. 15).
Articulated rapid buses like those currently used in Metro Vancouver have a capacity of 120 passengers. The smallest light-rail transit (LRT) I have ever seen in the past 10 years are the streetcars in Portland and Seattle. They are 20.13 metres long and carry 140 passengers.
This is not much more than Metro Vancouver articulated buses, but two streetcars can be hooked together carrying 280 passengers with a single driver.
Both Portland and Seattle also use full-size LRT. Each vehicle is 29 metres long and, in both towns, they are always working as a pair driven by one driver. The Portland trains carry 344 passengers per twin-set. The Seattle, trains carry 400 passengers per twin-set. In Seattle a train of four cars (800 passengers) operated by one driver is feasible, according to the manufacturer.
One of the most popular LRTs in Europe is the Alstom Citadis, especially those 33 and 44 metres in length, the latter carrying 300 passengers. One of Paris' tramway lines has been permanently twinning two units of 33 metres each. They carry 440 passengers and have only one driver.
The experience in many towns has been that, while articulated rapid buses are a cheap solution, few people will give up their car for a bumpy ride in a bus, but will be attracted by the smooth ride and esthetics of a big modern LRT (tramway for the Europeans).