The Pune Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) project on Nagar Road and Alandi Road is faced with yet another problem. This time it is the height of the bus stops where the buses will be stationed to collect passengers.
The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) uses CNG buses of two companies -- Tata and Ashok Leyland -- which will be assigned to this new BRTS route. The height of the door in Tata buses is 860 mm, whereas that of Ashok Leyland is 900 mm.
The 22 bus stops built on either side of the road are at a height of 875-880 mm. Commuters may be inconvenienced due to this improper planning once the bus services begin on these routes, particularly the disadvantage to the physically challenged and senior citizens, as the gap will act as a hurdle.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) superintendent engineer (roads) told MiD DAY, “Yes we have almost completed the work on the project and after the road safety audit is completed, we hope the bus services will start from January 1, 2014. The height of the bus stops are around 880 mm and there is a difference of levelling between bus door and bus stop height. But we think that PMPML will give special buses for this BRTS route and there will be no such problem.”
On the other hand, PMPML’s chief engineer Sunil Burse denied that there would be any problem for commuters while boarding the buses. He said, “We realised later that there is a height difference at the time of placing the order for the buses. There is an air suspension system at the bottom of the door and through that the height can be adjusted.”
Asked if it would be difficult to adjust the height of the doors, he said, “If anything goes wrong after the service is started and commuters are affected while boarding the buses from these bus stops, we will only add Tata buses on these routes.”
Commuters’ body Pravasi Manch president Jugal Rathi, said, “This is disastrous planning done by PMC to trap commuters. They are not only playing with the lives of commuters by making this big mistake of levelling but are also cheating them by using public funds in a wrong way. If they were aware of the height difference of right door earlier, both PMC and PMPML would have thought of a solution in the interest of commuters. We will strongly oppose this system which poses a risk to the lives of commuters.”
650 buses in first fleet
Currently, there are 650 buses with PMPML under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), and can be used for the new BRTS routes. Of these, 425 are of Tata and 225 of Ashok Leyland. In the second phase of JNNURM, additional 500 buses will join the PMPML fleet - 300 from PMC and 200 from PCMC.