The widely-feted BRTS model needs to resolve three problems before it can be truly celebrated, says CEPT prof
Shivani Chaturvedi | January 18, 2011
The much-feted Ahmedabad bus rapid transit system (BRTS), popular as Janmarg seems to have fallen a trifle short of its promises. Listing the case of missing cyclists among others, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), Ahmedabad maintains that these kinks need to be worked out before the Janmarg can be hailed for maximum delivery - a sobering note by one of the chief consulting agencies of the BRTS project.
Professor Shivanand Swami of CEPT said that alongwith the working of the smart card and the pending implementation of the vendor policy, underutilised bicycle lanes are challenges needing resolution.
“We had started off with BOT (build, operate, transfer) operator for smart card. The contract was of Rs 106 crore. People did not deliver a smart card that was reliable. When we checked it was deducting more money or less money. It was not consistent. Therefore, we got delayed. We are in the processing of closing the contract. We have hired another contractor,” Swami told the assembly at the national media workshop on BRT organised by the centre for media studies (CMS) in Ahmedabad on Monday. The smart card would be operational in March, he assured. Till then, off-board ticketing system will work.
Commenting on the underutilisation of the bicycle lanes, he said that they were being encroached as the neeed for a separate lane for cyclists seems to be missing with ample road space for both motor vehicles and bicycles. Therefore, the cyclists are staying off the designated lanes. Moreover, bicyclists tend to move in groups. So, they prefer to use the wider motor lanes than the two-metre-wide bicycle lane.
The vendors encroaching the footpath, Swami said, is a larger issue. "We have a street vendor policy which will be put into place in another couple of months," he said.
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