A new bus service from Winslow Township in New Jersey to Philadelphia may eventually ease a daily traffic nightmare for up to 6,000 commuters. The service would proceed along a unique route.
Anyone who travels Routes 55 or 42 in South Jersey during the morning rush hour can expect bumper-to-bumper traffic. A proposal for a rapid transit bus service using the inside shoulder is moving forward with construction possible within three years.
John Durso of New Jersey Transit says the rapid transit line would be capable of bypassing traffic at times.
“The bus rapid transit lane would be constructed using the shoulder lane heading into Philadelphia along the main feeders between 42 and the Atlantic City Expressway and Route 55 heading into 676 toward Camden and Center City Philadelphia,” Durso said.
The special lane would be exclusively for the rapid transit buses.
“It would be marked by a series of lights and signals to allow the bus to move much more rapidly,” he said. “It would be given preference to allow much higher rates of speed and to also provide additional convenience for the customers who would use this route.”
The system would cost about $46 million to build and between $5 million and $10 million to operate. It’s modeled on systems in North Jersey and California in which remotely tripped traffic lights allow the buses to move more quickly than ordinary traffic.
A light rail system for the Gloucester County area is under discussion, but it’s being considered as a separate project and has nothing to do with the rapid bus project.
With state and federal approvals, Durso says construction could begin within the next three years. The work would include 1,800 additional parking spaces for commuters to access the bus system, and the first buses could be rolling by 2020.