Civic body goes for Ahmedabad model for four new BRT routes

May 22, 2012, 08:03 IST | Sukirt D. Gumaste

Detailed Project Report approved by Centre; panel formed by PMC to visit Ahmedabad to study its successful system

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is in the process of implementing the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project on four routes in the city based on the successful Ahmedabad model.

The four new routes proposed are Warje-Kharadi, Kothrud-Vishrantwadi, Dhayri-Hadapsar and Katraj- Kalewadi. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) has been approved by the Centre.

Time for change: The Bus Rapid Transit project implemented in the city so far has earned criticism as commuters and experts say it is a half-baked plan and ignores the ideal BRT norms. file pic

The decision to study the Ahmedabad model came after a number of problems were encountered after the implementation of the pilot project on the Katraj-Hadapsar route.

In the first phase of the new project, a total of 68 km of the four routes will be implemented. The BRT project will ultimately cover 118 km.

The implementation is expected in a few months from now, after clearing all obstacles from the proposed roads.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNRUM) had sanctioned Rs 1,034 crore for the purpose six years ago.

A committee formed by the PMC will visit Ahmedabad to study its successful BRT model.

“After considering the problems of the BRT pilot project, we are studying all the routes and road conditions. We do not want to implement the
project hastily,” said Vivek Kharwadkar, additional city engineer (roads). “Before the implementation, three steps will be taken to avoid further problems. The first stage will include filling up punctures along dividers on the roads. The second stage will involve restructuring of the routes and in the last stage, barriers will be removed with the help of the traffic department. The project will be implemented according to the ideal norms of BRTS.”

Prashant Inamdar, president, Pedestrian First, said the half-hearted implementation of the first BRT project added to the traffic woes rather than solving them.

“The pilot Bus Rapid Transit system project has neither been implemented with the care and attention it deserved, nor is it being operated and maintained properly. Project implementation started without a proper DPR and detailed design drawings. Before the implementation of a new BRT project, DPR should be available and proper discussion is expected. BRT will succeed if PMC maintains dedicated bus lanes,” said Inamdar.

The Ahmedabad success story
BRT has been successfully implemented in Ahmedabad and set a classic example for other cities. Started in October 15, 2009, it recorded 17,114 commuters on the opening day. Over a lakh commuters use Janamarg (BRT), which has been generating income of Rs 6 lakh per day for two years. In the first 10 months, Janamarg diverted 24.5 per cent two-wheelers users, 23.5 per cent three-wheelers users and 2 per cent four-wheelers users to the facility.

The model has won the prestigious 2010 Sustainable Transport Award from the Transportation Research Board in Washington.

Ideal BRT norms

  • Segregated bus lanes
  • Safe pedestrian crossings
  • Good quality buses
  • Good quality bus shelters
  • High bus frequency
  • Buses with level boarding platform
  • Bus docking and level boarding facilities at bus station
  • Off-board ticketing
  • Intelligent transportation system

BRT objective
The central idea is to achieve rapid transit with convenience and a certain level of comfort so that bus commuters are better served and other private vehicle users are motivated to shift to the BRT system. BRT can provide Metro-like service at lower cost. The cost of BRT is approximately Rs 10 crore per km while that of Metro (elevated) is Rs 150 crore per km.

Pilot BRT project problems
The 16-km BRT stretch between Katraj and Hadapsar that was the pilot project is beset with a number of problems. These are the major issues:

  • None of ideal BRT norms implemented
  • Staff and officers specially trained for BRTS operation not deployed
  • No special attention given and the system is being operated like the ordinary city bus service
  •  Routine maintenance and timely repairs of infrastructure not being followed
  • u Poor enforcement with respect to entry of private vehicles in bus lanes
  • u Speeding by buses
  • u No action against footpath encroachments, cycle track and roadside  

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