I've (finally) looked through the TDP and there's enough information out there on the net and in print as far as analysis of the TDP goes, so I figured I would take a little bit of a different view. I decided to pick the best of the best; the route change which, in my opinion was the best "new" look created as part of the TDP.
This year's Something out of Nothing award goes to: The G2 West Busway/Downtown/Oakland (Formerly known as the 100) (check out page 203 of the document). The Port Authority took a route that had some value, gave it additional responsibilities/routing and the route ultimately came out a much improved product.
Why do I like this so much, you ask? Simple, it creates a route that increases interconnectivity, maximizes grade separation that will increase not only its own efficiency but efficiency on additional routes. As any of you who read this blog with any regularity will know, I love interconnection, separated grades, and efficiency.
The new routing starts in Robinson Town Center, and travels the Parkway to the West Busway, through downtown to the East Busway to Oakland. It returns by the same route. The old route started in Carnegie, traveled on the West Busway, and made a big loop in the East End, meaning it went via the East Busway to Oakland and returned downtown via 5th Ave and Boulevard of the Allies.
First of all the routing is much improved. By routing the G2 on the East Busway in both directions, the transit time between the two will be quicker, and will have fewer stops. This will make it a more attractive option for students trying to get downtown or to Robinson. To me this is an incredibly simple change that will pay dividends.
Secondly, by extending the route to Robinson, the G2 will take on the 28X's responsibility of stopping in Robinson Town Center (the bane of any rider's trip to the Airport in the past). This could potentially increase ridership on the G2 in addition to the fact that the 28X(R28) will now be able to shave a significant amount of time off its schedule making its service more appealing. A good scenario for both routes.
In some of the more sensationalized, attention grabbing headlines I have seen concerning the TDP; they have advertised it simply as the latest in a series of "route cuts". Not so my friend, and the new G2 is the perfect example proving that the program is not just another in a long series of "route cuts".
Note: The Port Authority needs to clean up the maps vs. route descriptions on the TDP website. If I look solely at the map, it seems that the new G2 will operate between 6 AM and 12 PM, and will use the existing route structure once across the river (between downtown and Oakland). If I read the draft recommendations document, it states that the bus will operate from roughly 6 AM to 12 AM and will use only the East Busway in both directions from downtown to Oakland.