Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Minus BRTS, pioneer prefers south Mumbai

Had the bus rapid transit system (BRTS) been in place in Mumbai, its pioneer -- Jaime Lerner -- would have probably travelled to Kamala Raheja Vidyalaya Institute of Architecture in suburban Juhu to meet the press. In its absence, he -- recognised as the father of BRTS -- thought it better not to venture out on the busy streets of Mumbai and preferred to stay in at a five-star hotel in south Mumbai, where he briefed the media about the benefits of having dedicated bus lanes.

Lerner said every city needed to promote mass transportation and to discourage car owners from driving their vehicles daily. However, he refused to discuss whether BRTS would be feasible in a city like Mumbai saying that he had not studied the transportation pattern here.

An urban planner and architect, Lerner was the mayor of Curitiba in 1974 when he first introduced BRTS. "It took more than three years for it to make it successful. Currently, it is being used by over 2.3 million passengers daily," he said.

He said the first priority in any city should be given to mass transportation and not to cars which carry only two to three people on an average. As a bit of advice to the city's planners, Lerner said the system would be successful only if it is designed across the median of the road and not along the footpath. "The system failed in New Delhi as it was designed parallel to the footpath."

According to Lerner the mode of transport has to be smart. "A bus on a normal route isn't smart but if you double the bus and then add adedicated lane with good frequency, then it would carry more than four times the passengers a normal bus would carry."

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