The Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) rolled out eight 60-foot articulated buses on the city's most heavily traveled route this week to launch the first phase in the agency's development of an enhanced bus corridor.
Branded with the Western logo Spur*, an acronym for "Signal Priority Urban Route," the new service operates similarly to bus rapid transit by using transit signal priority to expedite travel time through traffic lights, making it the first bus corridor in North Texas to use this technology. Future enhancements to the corridor will improve infrastructure, security, customer and passenger information.
Holding 50 percent more passengers than The T's largest 40-foot buses, the NABI artics will eliminate over-crowding and prevent having to bypass passengers waiting at stops during peak times because buses are full.
The buses were purchased with a $6.2 million stimulus grant from the federal Recovery Act, and the corridor improvements are being funded through Federal Transit Administration Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grants.
The seven mile long Spur* route from The T's downtown Intermodal Transportation Center along East Lancaster Ave. to the community of Handley averages one million passenger boardings a year.
The second phase of the Spur*, to be completed in 2012, includes sidewalk, curb and bus stop improvements and passenger information amenities more similar to train stations. These include more spacious, modern lighted bus shelters, detailed "You Are Here" route information kiosks, and GPS-based NextBus real-time passenger information at major shelters or through texting the bus stop number.