The Delhi government said on Wednesday that it would build more corridors like the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) section it scrapped just a few days ago, blaming design flaws for the existing version's lack of success rather than its inherent inefficiency.
The BRT corridor was mired in controversy since it became operational in 2008 as motorists complained of long traffic snarls and bus commuters put up with utter chaos. Shoddy implementation meant the earmarking of lanes was not adhered to and middle-of-the-road bus stops put pedestrians' safety at risk.
But the government will soon give the city a new and improved BRT, starting with outer Delhi, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced at a daylong ‘Delhi Transport Vision Conference’ on Wednesday, saying that the system was best suited for the capital as it catered to both the rich and the poor.
“BRT is a good concept which has been successful in several countries and in India as well. Delhi government is in favour of BRT. We feel the existing system was implemented badly. It was full of design faults. But we can always improve on the design and give Delhi a newer version,” Kejriwal said.
On July 21, the Delhi cabinet approved the decision to scrap the BRT corridor from Moolchand to Ambedkar Nagar. “We are going to scrap the BRT corridor but we will introduce new BRT corridors in Delhi in an improved form in future. We have to make the transport system better in the next five years,” Kejriwal said.
Public works department minister Satyendar Jain said BRT was the only solution for Delhi as the Metro alone could not meet the city’s transportation needs.
The AAP government has already announced plans to beef up the bus system. It plans to add 10,000 new buses under the Delhi Transport Corporation over the next five years.
The experts who participated in the seminar were also of the view that BRT was the need of the hour and it should be modified according to the city's requirement.
Professor Shivananda Swami, associate director, Center for Environment, Planning and Technology, made a presentation on BRT systems in various cities. Transport minister Gopal Rai proposed a BRT-like project be initiated in outer Delhi.
“We will appoint a consultant who will study the transport system and suggest ways for dedicated corridors,” Rai said.
Of the 14.5-km BRT corridor from Ambedkar Nagar to Delhi Gate, only a 5.8-km stretch is operational.