Shenzhen is set to develop five Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes covering 130 kilometers by 2010, with construction on the one running from Laojie (Dongmen Old Street) in Luohu to Xili in Nanshan to begin at the end of the year.
BRT is a bus service which operates on exclusive lanes with transit priority at traffic signals. It will connect subways and conventional bus transport within the city.
The BRT routes in Shenzhen will run on specially created areas in the middle of the road. The buses are expected to travel at an average speed of 25 to 30 kilometers per hour, about twice the current bus speed downtown, said the city's planning bureau.
The first route, from Laojie to Xili via Sungang Road, is expected to be completed within a year and a half, The route was selected based on the considerations of busy traffic on Sungang Road and booming real estate development in Xili, said the bureau.
The route will have three terminals ? Laojie, Xili and Honey Lake ? and 28 stops. To guarantee the punctuality of BRT, BRT buses will be given priority at 12 traffic signals along the route and can also request an extended green or shorter red traffic signal.
BRT is expected to relieve the traffic pressure and reduce the number of private vehicles in the city. Each bus, 18 meters long and with multiple gates, will be able to take between 180 and 200 passengers.
The city plans to introduce 40 BRT buses. The four other routes, which will be created by 2010, will run from Shangbu Road South to Longhua via Meilin Checkpoint, Chegongmiao to Pinghu via Buji, Shenzhen Railway Station to Dameisha and Xiaomeisha via Dongmen, and Shekou to Aviation Town via the business area in Nanshan.
Except for ambulances and fire trucks, no other vehicles will be allowed to use BRT lanes. The bureau spokesman said it would consider preventing private vehicles from entering the lanes by using surveillance cameras.
In addition to increased speed, BRT also has certain additional features. There will be areas for placing bicycles at each stop.
Tickets will be sold at bus stops, instead of inside the bus, and checked electronically. However, the BRT fare has not been decided yet.
BRT buses are environmentally friendly, conforming strictly to Euro III standard.
Eventually, conventional bus services will provide direct services to BRT stops.