Will colour-coding of buses work in Mumbai?
While some experts say there is a scope for it to be successful in the city, others are of the opinion that it will limit buses to certain routes always
Colour-coding of buses based on their routes, recently introduced in Pune, has created a lot of flutter among transport experts and activists in Mumbai, who shared their views on whether such a system should be replicated in the city. The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) introduced the system on Thursday, following the colour-coding pattern used for Metro trains in London.
Speaking to mid-day, Rohit Dhende of Bus for Us Foundation, said, "Yes, it will work. If you compare the two cities, the bus transport system in Pune is not that disciplined and regulated. In Mumbai it is better organised and managed. If this system works well in Pune, there is a scope for it to work in Mumbai too."
A former BEST committee member said, "Mumbai has been known for its iconic red buses. Changing the red colour would be like changing its identity. It's like a uniform that adds pride to the service. The route number system works well and there is no need to change it. But if at all one has to think on these lines, they could add route-specific colour strips over the red colour. However, the colour code will always limit the use of a bus on a single route. Many factors have to be considered before implementing this and it also needs to be done phase wise."
Transport expert Raxit Sheth, who had developed 'Mobile for Mumbai' – a bus search app for city commuters, said, "Every city has different commute patterns. Color-coding means that routes will be assigned colours. If there is not much demand on a particular route, then it will be tricky to assign buses to a busier route without changing the colours. It will also increase the cost. Instead, what Mumbaikars want is predictable, reliable and real-time information about location of buses and availability of seats. Also, a good app to track movement of buses and book seats. Regular sanitisation and cleaning are the first steps toward increasing ridership and cutting down on losses."
The PMPML has covered 207 routes in the first phase of the colour-coding project. A total of 1,300 buses plying on these routes will be assigned 15 colours to help commuters know about the routes and stops. The colour-coding system has been named CARISMA (Colour Coding All Routes to Identify Simplify Maps and App). The bus tracking system will also have a QR code-based map and mobile app for commuters to get exact locations, timings and frequency of buses. Pune officials said that the system would help identify buses by their routes even if people don't know the vehicle numbers.
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