Saturday, April 12, 2008

BRTS work to begin soon

Work on the proposed Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) that is going to create separate bus lanes on the Eastern Express Highway is likely to begin soon.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority had begun work on the demarcation of lanes in December last year. But the work was stalled due to repairs on the road and a pipeline. Once that work is over, MMRDA officials say the lane marking would be finished within a month. Once it’s done, it will enable BEST buses to ply between Sion and Thane at high speed.

“The plan was sanctioned in 2006 but there were slight problems during its implementation. The police did not give permission initially. But recently, they gave us an NOC and we have submitted it to MMRDA,’’ said general manger of BEST Undertaking, Uttam Khobragade.

The BRTS will ensure smooth flow of public transport, thereby encouraging people to avail of it and not use private cars. This system to promote public transport began in Bogota, a city in Columbia in Latin America, when mayor Enrique Penalosa transformed the congested and polluted city into a traffic-free one. Then the trend caught on in China, Indonesia, Brazil and India.

The system generally uses existing arterial roads and it can reach all parts of the city. The BRTS is a flexible system operating on roads. The King Long buses, which are air-conditioned, have already taken to the roads and ply on two routes currently: one each connecting south Mumbai to the western and eastern suburbs

“Currently, there are two routes: one from Dahisar to Backbay and another from Thane to Nariman Point. If we find that there is need for more such routes or additional buses, we will organise them,’’ said Khobragade. “We had started one from Bandra to Kurla but did not get enough response. So we scrapped it and will have more buses starting from Thane since there is more demand there,’’ he added. The bus lanes will have platforms as high as bus floors.

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