Tuesday, April 1, 2008

BRTS will roll on roads from June in Ahmedabad

When was the last time a bus was the centre of your daily schedule? May be never, if you are a twenty-something Amdavadi, who grew up in the western suburb. If all goes well, this mega city will have the swanky BRTS on the road and change the way people go to work.

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is taking up the ambitious Bus Rapid Transit Project (BRTS) on priority basis to meet the target of June 2008. By the end of this year, the AMC plans to operationalise the first 14 kilometre stretch and by May 2009 at least 28 kilometres would be functional including the Narol-Naroda part of the BRTS project.

The teeming vehicular growth on Ahmedabad city roads are becoming a nightmare. Currently, the city has a vehicular traffic of 14.5 lakh of which 73 per cent are two-wheelers which are responsible for most traffic woes in the city.

The average number of vehicles added to the city roads, according to a study by the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) university, is one lakh per year. The AMTS bus today, moves at the speed of 12-19 km per hour at any given time of the day. An AMC official said, “Tenders for finalising the BRTS buses, furniture and rolling staff got delayed due to electoral process for two and half months but now this whole process is being expedited to complete the first phase.”

Teams of the AMC have already tested and studied the buses’ design, ticketing process, technical requirements and other minute details. “We have also checked the comfortability factor for physically disabled people in boarding these buses on BRTS route,” said the AMC official.

The BRTS will have exclusive bus lanes down the central corridor, platform-level boarding, higher-capacity, compressed natural gas-powered (CNG) buses; and an integrated management structure.

Off-board fare collection will be available at a limited number of stops and the presence of on-board fare collectors will help keep dwelling time at stops to a minimum.

A BRTS expert said, “System buses will operate in routes partially divided between both mixed traffic and exclusive bus lanes. The distinctiveness of BRTS in Ahmedabad’s streets will be preserved using uniform branding, bus types and corporate identity. System corridors will also have bike lanes, improved pedestrian paths and rationalized car parking.”

CEPT university is the consultant to the AMC on the BRTS project, which has partial financial support from the Union ministry of urban development, under JNNURM, and government of Gujarat.

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