Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
The rapid-transit bus is designed to look and feel more like a light-rail car than a bus but would cost much less to purchase. It stopped in Utah County Wednesday.

OREM — The Utah Transit Authority displayed Wednesday a new type of bus that is a possible option for a Utah County bus rapid-transit system.

"Essentially, what this bus is is a California bus," said Reed Snyder, UTA's Utah County transportation manager. "It's a brand-new bus, and they've kindly allowed the bus to stop over here on its way to L.A. to let us have a look at it."

The 60-foot bus will be used in a bus rapid-transit system in California.

This make of bus has been designed to look and feel more like a light-rail car than a bus, according to Snyder.

Although no decision is imminent, the possibility of a bus rapid-transit system in Utah County has been bandied about for several years.

In a bus rapid-transit system, there's a high enough frequency of service — a bus coming by every 10 or 15 minutes — that people don't need to consult a bus schedule prior to heading to a bus stop.

"A really scaled-down minor version of (bus rapid transit) may just be signal prioritization," said Snyder. "They're looking at some of that in Salt Lake, where the signal lights would sense the bus coming and would hold the green a little longer or turn a red to green a little sooner in order to give a little priority to the bus."

One of the main ideas for a bus rapid transit in Utah County would be a corridor route beginning around Utah Valley State College, heading east on University Parkway, cutting into the Brigham Young University campus, and turning south for its final destination — Provo Towne Center.

Snyder said the advantages of a bus rapid-transit system over a full-scale light-rail line are that a bus rapid transit would be much less expensive, quicker to put in and provide the flexibility of starting with a scaled-down version and building into it.

How soon any transportation system is up and running "really depends on the type of system that we want to put in," said UTA Utah County regional general manager Hugh Johnson. It would take about two years after the system received funding, he said.

"(Bus rapid transit) is a choice, but it's not the only choice," said Johnson.

One thing that UTA is certain about is that by the end of the year five new commuter buses will join the bus pool and replace obsolete buses.

"The new (commuter) buses will help ease our standing loads going back to forth to Salt Lake," he said.


E-mail: jaskar@desnews.com