Operating costs of city buses have been studied and compared – both between vehicle brands and against other systems like Light Rail and Metro – for decades. “Bus Rapid Transit” systems (BRT), which are currently emerging in many cities worldwide, create new operational-cost questions that are extremely important for local bus operators as well as for the public administrations that co-ordinate system planning and tendering-out of practical operations.
Effective operation-costs of BRT-buses depend on many external socio-economic and geographic factors as well as on technical parameters set by vehicle manufacturers and the maintenance regime. Many of these interact strongly, creating linear, progressive or contrarious dependencies on the total operational cost.
For example, speeding-up of bus-operation on BRT lines by separate lanes etc. will decrease the number of vehicles (and drivers) required, reducing total-system cost. Cost-pervehicle will increase however, due to higher maintenance efforts and heavier fuelconsumption. Door-layout or seating-arrangement on vehicles will influence stationstopping-times and therefore impact system speed, but also generate investment / maintenance cost for vehicles and station platform doors.
A number of example calculations based on real BRT applications will predict expected levels-of-cost for some typical scenarios and will provide a first foresight for local authorities and interested bus-operation companies.