Buses with High Level of Service (BHLS) is an emerging term in Europe for higher quality bus services in urban areas, based on a combination of better operating environment, high quality vehicles, upgraded infrastructure, improved customer services, marketing, image and a systemic approach. BHLS is not the same product as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), although there are many features in common. The primary objective of BHLS is to uplift the quality of the bus mode rather than to provide the mass transit function. Many European cities have extreme limitations in available road width, BHLS aims to get the maximum capacity and quality within the available space.
This paper reports the findings of an EU COST Action on BHLS, which includes practitioners and researchers from 14 EU countries. It presents BHLS practice, a set of 5 Case Studies (France, Netherlands, Ireland, Spain and Sweden, and operational characteristics of BHLS systems in Europe. A review of procurement and contractual aspects indicates that BHLS has been implemented within existing regulations, procedures, contract structures and performance parameters.
Information on the COST TU603 action on BHLS can be obtained at www.bhls.eu