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Delhi corridor not a proper BRT

delhi Updated: Aug 23, 2012 01:27 IST
Atul Mathur

The 5.8-km-long ‘Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)’ corridor between Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand Hospital is actually not a BRT. International transport experts say it is a basic busway system.

“New Delhi has made a start by providing the basic infrastructure. If the corridor was to adopt the features of a full BRT system as in cities such as Ahmedabad, Guangzhou (China) and Curitiba (Brazil), the results and public reaction would be transformational,” said Lloyd Wright, senior transport specialist, Asian Development Bank, based in Manila.

Experts believe Delhi’s BRT lacks several important features — a closed BRT system with centralised management, fare collection before boarding the bus and integration with other modes of transport.

"Delhi’s bus corridor was not implemented as a full BRT system. It included exclusive buslanes, but did not have adequate stations, vehicles or information systems. There is a need to focus on improving reliability and comfort, re-evaluating bus service plans, and complementing it with measures such as parking policies and congestion pricing to rationalise car use," said Dario Hidalgo, director of Research and Practice, EMBARQ, Bogota, Colombia.

The most effective BRT systems, said experts, are in Latin America, which Indian cities can look up to.

The BRT success in cities such as Guangzhou, Seoul, Los Angeles, Bogota, Curitiba, and Cape Town had a systematic approach in which a car-competitive level of quality was achieved.

They have weather-protected stations, free and convenient transfers to different routes, modern vehicles with level boarding for all, frequent and reliable services.

Also, road capacity was added to free up space. “The preferred approach in the last century was to build infrastructure for general traffic. Construction of lanes for it resulted in more traffic and congestion. Several cities such as San Francisco, Seoul and Portland have even removed urban freeways,” said Hidalgo.

“Delhi’s system also needs technical improvements. Traffic signal cycles are too long. The stations are too close to intersections. On almost all BRTs, passengers pay their fare before entering the station. In Delhi, they pay when entering the bus. This slows operations,” said Gerhard Menckhoff, transport consultant, World Bank, Washington DC.