Mumbai's first dedicated lane for buses could be in BKC

BEST is working with the Traffic police and transport experts to reserve a lane for their buses running between MTNL, Kurla and Kalanagar, in order to reduce commute time; this lane could begin as early as August 7

Mumbai may get its very first dedicated bus lane in Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC). The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking is working with the Traffic police department and transport experts to introduce such a lane this month.

BEST buses between Bandra and Kurla will have a dedicated lane. With vehicles being parked near bus stops currently, buses are forced to stop in the middle of the road. File pic for representation
BEST buses between Bandra and Kurla will have a dedicated lane. With vehicles being parked near bus stops currently, buses are forced to stop in the middle of the road. File pic for representation

The authorities at BEST have been working on this project in order to reduce the commute time on their buses a grouse most commuters have. “Congestion is a major reason why our buses run late. We are looking at starting a dedicated lane for buses on a pilot basis, from August 7,” Jagdish Patil, GM, BEST, told mid-day. The pilot is expected to run for a couple of months.

As per the plan, the stretch between the MTNL office in Kurla to Kalanagar in Bandra (East) has been identified to create this lane. BEST buses will run along the footpath, with the remaining three lanes the stretch has an eight-lane road left for other vehicles. If the bus needs to turn, it will have to follow normal traffic rules. Presently, six different bus route numbers ply between Bandra and Kurla.

“We will have to place our staff along with traffic cops in order to initially ensure that motorists don’t jump lanes. Gradually, we can only hope that motorists maintain the lane discipline in the long run,” said another BEST official. During peak hours, these buses take around 35-40 minutes to cover the 4-km stretch between MTNL and Kalanagar.

Officials expect the reserved lane will reduce this to 20-25 minutes. “We need to let this system start. This will ensure that this public mode of transport (BEST) will run better than now,” said Ashok Datar, transport expert. In all, these dedicated lanes have been planned along five routes: Western Express Highway, Eastern Express Highway, Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road, Haji Ali to Worli Naka, and BKC.

The authorities are also working to clear private buses parked on roads at SEEPZ, which obstruct the path of BEST buses. Another problem BEST buses face is cars parked illegally near bus stops, leaving them with no space to enter and leave the stop. BEST is planning to paint yellow markers along bus stops to demarcate the space set aside for their bus.

These markings will be painted on either side of the bus stop up to a distance of 15 metres, leaving enough space for buses to enter and leave. Presently, with vehicles parked near bus stops, buses have to stop in the middle of the road, with the other vehicles passing by even as commuters are alighting and boarding the bus.

“We will choose yellow paint of an appropriate quality that won’t wear off due to rain or heat,” said an official. As per traffic rules, private vehicles cannot be parked in front of a bus stop and have to maintain a distance of 15 metres from the centre of the bus stop.

Officials also want people waiting at the stop to tell motorists to desist from parking there. Sources said they are currently identifying the bus stops that handle huge loads, where these markers will eventually be painted.

Voices

Ashok Datar, transport expert
This will ensure that this public mode of transport (BEST) will run better than now.

Ajinkya Gaikwad, assistant prof, SIES College
Getting a rickshaw from Kurla to BKC is very difficult in peak hours. There is always a bottleneck over Mithi river and fares of share rickshaws have also increased. I am really happy at this announcement.

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