By Dorien Boxhoorn, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On August 20th the ‘Bus Rapid System,’ a fast bus line on a special corridor also known as BRS, will be inaugurated in Leblon and Ipanema. In the lead-up to the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, Rio de Janeiro is working hard to upgrade its infrastructure. One of the most important programs effecting many commuters is through the BRS system, as buses are the most common public transportation in the city.
The BRS is a system in which the buses can ride faster and more efficient than on a normal bus line. The buses will ride over segregated bus lanes, corridors, in an effort to relieve congestion and cut travel time.
Lisa Bojahr lives in Leblon and studies in Centro. “I take the bus almost every day. The connections are very good and it is very easy to hop in and out of the bus. I do think that the special corridor for buses will be an improvement, because such a corridor will allow the buses to move faster from A to B. During rush hours I usually take the metro, although I prefer the bus. With this new corridor I think I will take the bus also during the rush hours.”
Copacabana already has had the BRS system since April of this year, and it has shown positive results: buses do moving faster through famously congested neighborhood. Research by the Secretary of Transportation of Rio de Janeiro has shown that the average travel time in Copacabana is reduced by 11-13 percent.
Fernanda Rossi, who lives in Gloria and works in Leblon, is planning to use the bus to get to her work as soon as the BRS corridor is in operation: “Nowadays I use the metro and the metro bus to get to my work, but I plan to take the bus as soon as BRS starts.”
Of the 55 lines that are currently operating in Ipanema, fifty are planned for inclusion in the BRS system, in total there will be about ten percent less buses on these routes. Also there are five lines that will no longer operate after August 20th, numbers 438, 439, 512, 522 and 574.
The buses will be separated into three different groups BRS 1, 2 and 3 along Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva in Leblon, and on Rua Visconde de Pirajá in Ipanema. There will be less stops than before, but the each will be better identifiable.
Mike Smith, a expatriate living in Ipanema for the last three years comments; “Rio has no shortage of buses which is great, although it would be great to improve the route information at bus stops, I never know which go where. This new system should help, if nothing else to reduce the traffic along Visconde Piraja.”
Ipanema and Leblon will have a week to adapt to the new program with the opening hours from 6AM to 9PM. During these hours it is not permitted to drive over the corridor by car, as only taxis, emergency vehicles and police cars are allowed to use the corridor.
The intention is that in September the streets Prudente de Moraes, Ipanema, and General San Martin in Leblon also gain a bus lane, according to the Secretary of Transport Leta Thamin.