At a time when the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) was supposed to commence the Phase I of the 68-km-long Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) on four different routes in the city, its officials recently announced yet another BRTS project on two different routes — Alandi Road and Nagar Road.
Social activists expressed their displeasure over the chosen routes and said population density in the above-mentioned areas was low, and implementing the project on these roads was a bad idea.
In May 2012, the PMC authorities had announced implementation of the Phase I of the 68-km-long BRTS project on four different routes comprising Warje-Kharadi (22 km), Kothrud-Vishrantwadi (17 km), Dhayri-Hadapsar (17 km) and Katraj- Kalewadi (5 km).
City Engineer (Road) Vivek Kharwadkar had then said that a Detailed Project Report (DPR) of these four routes was approved by the Central government and after removing all the obstacles on the proposed routes the BRTS was expected to be implement in a couple of months.
“There is no use of BRTS on these routes. The PMC should implement it areas where the density of population is high. Actually, the PMC wants to complete the quota of 118 km, which is funded by the JNNURM.
For that they have selected roads outside the city. Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), the advisory body to the PMPML has submitted an operational plan of the BRTS to the PMC. But the PMC is not discussing or sharing the plan. It is not cleared that which design of the BRTS will be implemented,” civic activist Ranjeet Gadgil said.
Kharwadkar said Alandi Road and Nagar Road were a part of the first phase of the BRTS and not two separate routes. “We have selected a stretch of 32 km (16 km each) of the proposed 68 km for the implementation of the BRTS. Nagar Road falls under the Warje-Kharadi route and Alandi Road is a part of Kothrud-Vishrantwadi route. Infrastructure of these 32 km will be completed by December. The pending the routes will be completed in 2014, step by step. To commence with, we have selected these stretches,” Kharwadkar said.
The ITDP officials had submitted an operational plan suggesting implementation of a closed BRTS, which is based on the Ahmedabad’s Janmarg Model in Gujarat. In a closed BRTS, only those buses to which the route is dedicated can ply on it. But BRTS routes can extend beyond the exclusive corridor network. Some of the buses can exit the corridors, towards the end of the route, to provide direct service to passengers whose origin or destination is not on the exclusive lane corridor.
“This kind of system cannot be constructed into patches as it can create confusion among commuters, private vehicle owners and even the bus drivers. BRTS should be implemented only after the necessary infrastructure is in place. Patchwork of BRTS will resemble the Swargate-Katraj pilot project. The PMC is not even undertaking public outreach programmes for creating awareness,” President of NGO Pedestrian First Prashant Inamdar said.
On asked why the PMC was implementing the BRTS project in low population density areas, a civic official said because roads in these areas were in good condition. “We have planned BRTS from low density to high density areas for its smooth functioning,” the official said.
Rs 1,034 cr Amount sanctioned for the BRTS project