Lanes on arterial roads of Mumbai are likely to become narrower. The message that civic authorities want to send out is wide and clear: To make way for a dedicated lane for buses under the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS).
At present, the width of each of the four lanes on major arterial roads in the city is 3.5 m, and expected to be cut down to just 2.75 m. The idea is to create a 3.1-m lane for the BRTS.
As part of the plan, the BMC will start a study on it from November in four junctions.
These are Sitladevi junction or Mahim Church, King’s Circle junction, Metro cinema junction and Crawford Market junction.
The two-km stretch between Mahim Church and Sena Bhavan will be the guinea pig for the plan. Other important junctions like SV Road between Bandra to Santa Cruz could also be taken up for the study.
No public transport system requires more than 3.1-m width to travel on road. The maximum space required by any private car too is not beyond 2.5 to 2.75-m. So the existing four lanes of 3.5 m can easily be replaced by five lanes in all - four of 2.75-m width and one with 3.1-m width.
For BRTS to be implemented, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) lays down rules that BRTS can be implemented on roads with width of 30 m (90 feet approximately). As per city standards, roads have lanes that are 3.5 mt each which total eight lanes and median with foot paths. The authorities now have hit upon the plan to literally carve out an extra lane without changing the existing width of the road.
The Eastern Express Highway and the Western Express Highway where the BRTS services are running do not need this. These highways are very wide and have sufficient lanes. Once the buses enter Mahim and Sion or Chembur on the three mid-entry points to the city, the roads are not at all as wide BRTS hopes - rather ambitiously — to make travel time from Dahisar to Mahim (25 kms) by buses not more than half hour, as against the present one-and-a-half to two hours.
The authorities look up to promote all kinds of mass transport system. “All mass transport vehicles like BEST buses, even private transport buses and company buses will be allowed to ply on the dedicated lane. We basically look forward to promoting the mass transport system.