reims: the “strong lines” of the “bus-tram network”

The opening of a new tram (streetcar) line is usually the occasion for lots of hype and celebration about trams.  But Reims, France is using the opening day of a new tram to pitch a newly integrated network, the "Réseau Bus-Tram."  The term clearly invites us to stop thinking of buses and trams as separate things, and forming attachments to one or the other.

Reims lignes Their description of it in their timetables [PDF] shows a focus on promoting a network of main lines (Lignes fortes), which consist of two tram lines and five bus lines, all very frequent and designed to complement each other.  The name lignes fortes suggests not just main lines but also (more literally) strong lines, strong enough to be the structure that supports all the other transit lines in the city.

(Just home from Halifax.  More on that soon, though come to think of it, this post is about Halifax too, and about a lot of other cities …)

8 Responses to reims: the “strong lines” of the “bus-tram network”

  1. ant6n June 29, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    Although maybe one way to think about it is that they want to build trams for all the ‘strong’ lines – they just don’t want to wait to have the network until the bus lines are actually converted to trams.

  2. Jarrett at June 29, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    @ant6n Well, once you've put out high-quality high-frequency bus service and are experiencing overcrowding on it, the case for rail becomes much simpler (that's where Vancouver's Broadway is now)

  3. Tom West June 30, 2011 at 6:14 am #

    Probably a better Enlglish equivilant would be “main lines” or “trunk lines”.

  4. Eric O June 30, 2011 at 6:28 am #

    I propose we just call frequent bus lines “Trams” (or Trams in Disguise). Not even “BRT”.
    No, but seriously. I like “Strong Lines” a lot! Because terminology becomes so important to the discussion, we need to strongly differentiate such terms in order to get the discussion to a system focus.

  5. GD June 30, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    I would assume that for the broad public, “strong” works beautifully – you immediately have an image that translates perfectly to mapping, helps the casual user, and might even help to give some sense of the entire network, if the other lines are placed in a way that connects logically and predictably to the strong ones.
    It may be a term unsatisfactory for the planner, but in terms of marketing, it’s brilliant

  6. Ed June 30, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    This reminded me of Muni in SF, where I have heard many people use “Muni” to refer only to the LRT part of the system, rather than all the buses (and yes, these are people who are willing to use the light rail and refuse to set foot on the buses). And this is in a city where only the downtown part of the LRT system has a dedicated ROW, for the most part.
    Would be great to see Muni tie its more frequent buses more tightly to its LRV lines, e.g, on maps, or on signage in stations. And of course, it would be great to see Muni speed up those frequent buses as well….

  7. Zoltán July 4, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    Like in many places, when I’ve looked at the network map of San Francisco, I’ve been frustrated about how little it betrays about what routes are worth bothering to take if I don’t want to make plans around the timetable. It makes the muni metro lines jump out at me, which is great, as they’re all frequent, but I want the 14-Mission, 38-Geary and so on to jump out at me too, because they’re frequent too.
    I think that fact about the information provided might be no small part of the behaviour of those you identify as willing to use light rail but not bus, despite the fact both look and feel like regular local public transport service. The fact that it’s light rail guarantees dependable service, and no such guarantees are given for equivalent buses. And if you can choose to travel by other modes, you need that guarantee from the outset before you’ll choose transit.

  8. Red frog December 30, 2011 at 12:07 am #

    Reims isn’t the only French town where bus lines are integrated with the tram lines! Most transit systems outside Paris are managed by either Keolis or Veolia (now Veolia TransDev) so each town benefit from the experience its transit provider has in other towns.
    When Keolis won the contract to manage the Bordeaux transit system in late 2009 it consulted with the public and came out in February 2010 with a new tram and bus integrated network.
    About the Bordeaux tramway:
    photos of the tramway:
    you may read in guidebooks like Lonely Planet and on internet pages about tourism in Bordeaux etc. that Mayor Alain Juppe totally changed Bordeaux by having streets pedestrianized, having buildings scrubbed etc. along with having the tram built (instead of the VAL system favored by its predecessor).
    The first pedestrian streets and squares (totaling 4 km) actually go back to 1976 and were planed and built when J. Chaban Delmas was the mayor (from 1947 to 1995!).
    Most of the downtown buildings were restored and cleaned from the late 1960s on.
    The building of the 3 tram lines (2000-2003) was an opportunity to pedestrianize more streets and also reduces the number of car lanes in even more streets.
    The pedestrainization of streets in the 1970s wouldn’t have been possible if 2 new bridges and a circular freeway had not been built in the 1960s to remove from downtown Bordeaux all the vehicles that had no business being in Bordeaux and were only going through but HAD to go through the only bridge before the river estuary, 80 km downstream. There was no other bridge upstream for many km.
    As it is that single Bordeaux bridge was built in 1822 (unlike other towns that had bridges several centuries old). Both for technical reasons and political ones (through history the Kings of France were, for the locals, enemies at worse and annoying trouble makers at best).