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PMC-PMPML tussle to delay BRT services?

While the PMPML insists that the PMC has not completed the infrastructural work on new corridors, the civic body says it has been done and the transport body should begin services soon

While commuters are waiting for services on the new Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) corridors to begin, the project has thrown up a tussle between the Pune Mahangar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) and the PMC.

BRTS corridors
Long way to go: The PMC has identified four potential BRTS corridors, of which work has been started on two routes totalling 16 km — Alandi Road and Nagar Road. Pic/Mohan Patil

The PMC is pushing for PMPML to start the service soon, but the latter is insisting that the infrastructure is not in place and services cannot begin until it is.

Last month, the PMPML had sent a 15-point list of pending issues (see box) to the PMC, but the transport body’s officials claim that the civic body has rejected all of them and has also refused to consider the road safety audit of the BRT corridors conducted by an IIT Powai team in December 2013.

To resolve the standoff, the PMPML has called a special meeting with the PMC commissioner and other officials on June 7.

“We are conducting an overall review of the BRT project, including the infrastructural shortcomings and whether the road safety audit suggestions have been implemented or not,” said PMPML chief executive officer Mayura Shindekar.

“In the upcoming meeting, we will be discussing our problems regarding starting the service with the PMC commissioner and his team and the final call will then be taken by the PMPML CMD and the PMC commissioner,” he said, adding, “We want the issues to be resolved as soon as possible so that the services can get off the ground, but that will not be possible until the PMC puts the proper infrastructure in place.”

Corridors
The PMC has identified four potential BRTS corridors totalling nearly 74 km — Warje to Kharadi (22 km), Kothrud depot to Vishrantwadi (17 km), Dhayari to Hadapsar Gadital (17 km) and Kalewadi Phata to Katraj (17.5 km). In the first phase, which began in September 2012, work was started on two routes totalling 16 km — Alandi Road and Nagar Road.

The cost of the BRT on these two routes is pegged at R27 crore and their road safety audit was done in December 2013, after repeated demands from commuters.

PMPML officials say most of the infrastructural work is pending on both these routes, which needs to be completed by the PMC. Officials from the PMC, however, claim that the work is nearly complete and the PMPML should start services immediately.

Speaking to mid-day, Pune Municipal Corporation Additional Municipal Commissioner Omprakash Bakoria said, “We have completed almost all the infrastructural work, only the issue of terminus points is pending. We are in a position to start the service but have still agreed to go ahead with the review of road safety audit suggestions and the pending work so that the service can be started soon.”

Niggling issues

A list of 15 points has been given by the PMPML to the PMC about the infrastructure that still needs to be put in place. Some of the major points are:



>> Many of the bus stations do not have sensors installed for the automatic doors to open. Around 400 buses also lack such sensors. The doors open only when the sensor at the bus station detects the sensor inside the bus

>> Two bus stations —at Vishrantwadi chowk (near Sathi Biscuit Shop) on Alandi Road and at Tata Guardroom chowk on Nagar Road — are not in place and need to be built immediately

>> To control the speed of the buses, IIT officials had suggested in their report that there should be table-land speed breakers before the bus stations, but not a single bus station on the two routes has it.

>> There are no dedicated closed lanes for the BRTS buses at some of the bus stations on the route, including the Vishrantwadi Chowk bus station and Ramwadi Jakat Naka bus station.

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