Bergen County is revising its decades old master plan. The planning department held visioning workshops so the public could help develop the new master plan. There were visioning workshops for Southern Bergen County, Northeastern Bergen County, and Northwestern Bergen County. Taxes, rents, environmental protection, and transit were mentioned at the visioning workshops.
Participants noted the lack of intra-county mass transit options. Even though the majority of Bergen County commuters travel to jobs within Bergen County, mass transit is focused on bringing commuters to New York City.
The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system connects Bergen County with Hudson County, and a proposed east-west railway would connect Bergen County with Passaic County, but these rail projects were not popular. There was more support for bicycle infrastructure and a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
A BRT combines the speed of a rail system with the low cost and flexibility of a bus system. The BRT in Curitiba, Brazil serves a population of 2 million and is an excellent model. The bus shelters are enclosed and act like subway stations. Commuters pay to enter the shelter instead of when they board the bus, and the shelter is elevated to the level of the bus door. This allows commuters to walk quickly onto the bus when it arrives.
Buses in this BRT spend less than 20 seconds at each stop loading and unloading passengers. Curitiba uses frequent mini buses rather than infrequent large buses to reduce waiting time between buses. Commuterz pay a flat fee to ride the bus regardless of how far they travel on the BRT. The areas surrounding the bus lines contain high density development.
The problem with a BRT in Bergen County is that the county roads are too narrow to accommodate much bus traffic, the population is a bit under 1 million, and most towns do not have any developments above 2 stories.