Today is the first day of intercity bus service at the new Capital Area Multimodal Gateway. Three carriers will operate from the station, which will offer about 150 parking spaces. The new Amtrak facility will be finished later this year. We talk with CATA Assistant Executive Director Debbie Alexander.
Passengers traveling from the Lansing area by bus now have more transportation options. Today, three intercity bus carriers are operating from the new Capital Area Multimodal Gateway in East Lansing just west of the MSU campus. This is just the first phase of the project, which will also include a new Amtrak rail station on site and improved parking.
Current State talks with Debbie Alexander, the assistant executive director of CATA, the Capital Area Transportation Authority.
EDITED INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS
What is the Bus Rapid Transit project?
The Bus Rapid Transit project is a dedicated busway that would go between the Capitol building and the Meridian Mall. We would have 28 stations that would be like rail stations (where) you pay the fare at the station (and board).
We also have signal preemption, which allows us to advance the signal systems. This allows for faster travel on the buses between the Capitol building and the Meridian Mall.
Why does a Bus Rapid Transit system make sense for a smaller metropolitan area like Lansing?
Because it really stimulates economic development and it helps to allow more capacity for public transportation. Currently we’re limited by the amount of capacity that we can put in the corridor because we actually affect the travel of autos. The idea is to take the buses out of the auto lanes, put them in their own dedicated lanes and then we can add capacity to both.
How do you know there will be enough ridership to make the Bus-Rapid Transit project cost-effective?
We had to do that in the first phase of the study. The alternatives analysis used the current growth projections of the region to determine what the projects would be….in the year 2035. In order to make the project viable, we had to demonstrate that ridership would be there in order to justify the costs and we met the federal guidelines of being under $29 per passenger.