Why is Ahmedabad ignoring the regular bus service?
Shivani Chaturvedi | January 28, 2011
Ahmedabad's Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) is being widely hailed as a success story. And for perfectly compelling reasons. It is a case of a concept well executed, quite unlike its counterpart in Delhi. However, while Ahmedabad's BRTS is routinely compared, and favourably so, with that in Delhi, there is another equally pertinent comparison that needs to be made if we want to get our planning and policies on public transport right.
Even as the authorities in Gujarat have focused on the BRTS and won laurels, they seem to have ignored the buses running under the Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Services (AMTS). Both BRTS and AMTS buses are run by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). So, why is the AMC playing favourites between its own babies?
Fleets of buses operating under AMTS are in urgent need of attention. A single visit to the city is sufficient to draw attention to both the condition and the service of the buses operating under AMTS.
Ahmedabad transport officials say new buses will be procured for AMTS. Some of these buses will be procured under the centre’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). When the new fleet arrives, the old buses will be scrapped. But until then the majority of people who use public transport have no choice but to depend on the same buses.
AMTS has been running buses for the past 60 years. As many as nine lakh people daily commute by 700 buses running under AMTS which covers most of the routes in the city. In contrast, BRTS started just 15 months ago and just one lakh commuters travel by BRTS buses which operate on selected routes. A new BRT stretch is under construction and work is on in full swing. Nobody is sure when the new fleet of buses will be procured for AMTS. Meanwhile, even as the younger baby is getting all the attention of the municipal corporation the older sibling continues to suffer in silence.
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