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One hour to cover 5.8 kilometres

Despite the presence of traffic policemen, traffic marshals, enforcement officials of transport department and senior DIMTS officials, motorists broke rules with impunity. Atul Mathur & Sidhartha Roy.

delhi Updated: Apr 22, 2008 02:10 IST

It could not have been worse. Monday being the first working day since the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) opened the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System corridor between Dr Ambedkar Nagar Terminal and Moolchand for a trial run, it was the biggest test for the agencies involved in the project. But miles-long-jams on Josip Broz Tito Marg and all feeder roads showed that they had failed the test.

It took more than one hour to cover the 5.8 kilometre-long-stretch when the normal time should not more than 20 minutes. Vehicular pile-ups stretched from one traffic intersection to the other. Despite the presence of traffic policemen, traffic marshals, enforcement officials of transport department and senior DIMTS officials, motorists broke rules with impunity. The result: total chaos.

9:30 am: We began our journey from Moolchand by hitting the jam straightaway. The snarl looked unending. Short of patience, bikers jumped lanes and cruised on the lane meant for cyclists. There were no traffic marshals to stop them. People were confused on how to use lanes. Private cars, auto-rickshaws and two-wheelers lost no time in jumping lanes to avoid the jam.

9:40 am: There was major chaos at the Archana crossing, which is on regular days a smooth run. Traffic marshals were seen shouting at motorists to follow lanes. It took us over 15 minutes to negotiate the Archana cut.

9:56 am: The pile-up at the Chirag Dilli traffic junction stretched almost to the Archana crossing. The cascading effect could be seen on the feeder roads. There was a long pile-up on the Outer Ring Road. Motorists trying to avoid the BRT stretch took detours, causing jams up to Nehru Place on the Outer Ring Road. The internal lanes of Greater Kailash, Pamposh Enclave and neighbouring areas were choc-a-bloc too. It took more than 20 minutes to cross the Chirag Dilli intersection.

10:20 am: The Press Enclave traffic junction was no better. Since automated signals had already stopped working, the police were manually managing traffic on all junctions. The traffic snarl-up went deep along the Press Enclave Marg. Motorists coming from Malviya Nagar and Saket had long waits at the BRT junction.

10:30 am: Things were no better on the Mehrauli-Badarpur Road, causing chaos up to Madangir on the BRT corridor. With the lane system ending at the Ambedkar Nagar T-point, cars and buses tried to break free. The result: traffic clashed at the T-point.

Evening: Surprisingly, it was a smooth experience in the evening. It took just 19 minutes to cover the distance of 5.8 kilometres. But it was not better traffic management or motorists sticking to the lanes that suddenly transformed the chaotic scene. The mayhem simply moved to the connecting roads.

The BRT was smooth but there were long traffic jams on alternate routes. As TV channels flashed news of the madness at the BRT corridor, people decided to avoid the stretch but only to get stuck in hour-long jams on Aurobindo Marg, Outer Ring Road and Ma Anandmayi Marg. There was bumper-to-bumper traffic on internal roads of Malviya Nagar, Hauz Khas, Greater Kailash, Chittranjan Park, Kalkaji and Nehru Place.