I like to see this type of discussion. There is a large group of bus lovers and users around. I am glad there is support for trolley buses, not the stinking diesel ones.
Streetcar versus buses: when I am in modern cities, such as Toronto, which have viable transportation systems, I have choice of transit travel with layers from fast rapid transit commuter lines to subways, streetcars, trolley buses, diesel buses, community buses, buses for people who need assistance, and even private buses for apartment development owners.
When I can choose between taking a bus and taking a streetcar, I will walk a few blocks out of my way to take the streetcar.
Why? It is all about passenger comfort. No longer are there jerky manoeuvres by bus drivers. No longer are there panic stops by bus drivers. No longer is there terrible bouncing around in aging buses. No longer are there the diesel smells of buses. Now instead, there is a steady, quiet ride especially appealing when I am standing inside a streetcar.
Then there is speed. With streetcars, it easier to implement good transportation demand management measures which give streetcars the right of way.
It is all about speed of travel and passenger comfort.
That is why I prefer streetcar routes to buses –trolley or not.
Getting back to the headline premise and with a new, parallel streetcar route, trolley buses could be moved to another route and more diesel buses diverted off the roads of the City. Now, is this idea not a positive step towards the Greenest City Agenda? Besides a larger portion of electrical-powered transit comes a transit line with smoother, time-efficient, consumer-appealing transportation.
A layered structure of transit capability from fastest movement to speeds of local streets provides an effective capacity for moving people. Some cities have achieved it for transit. For car drivers, there is also a layered network in place within cities and in rural areas from super fast highways to local lanes.
For those who wish to cycle for transportation, there are bits and pieces of layered cycling network usually in place, depending on the city. If a similar, comprehensive, and layered network were in place for cycling within Vancouver, from slow speed cycling to fast commuting, there just might be significant improvements in cycling efficiency and trip time. Along with cycling efficiency for commuters comes growth in cycling traffic.
Third Wave perspective of a comprehensive cycling network within an urban environment includes layered cycling facilities starting with bike routes on quiet streets up to regional, rail-trail type cycling highways, along with feeder layers taking cyclists to transit stations, schools, and shopping areas.
Mass Transit: Resurgence and Reinvention, 2009-10-09 , page 29 GHG emission by mode of transportation