Motorists taking the JB Tito Marg bemoan the transformation of a once smooth south Delhi road into a traffic nightmare, thanks to the Bus Rapid Transit system.
Now it is the turn of other major Delhi roads such as the Mathura Road, Lala Lajpat Rai Path and Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg to go the BRT way. Only this time, the chaos is going to be many times bigger.
The 5.8km BRT stretch between Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand is only the first phase of a 14.5km-long corridor up to Delhi Gate. Once up, the BRT corridor would snake through some of the busiest arterial roads of the Capital, affecting lakhs of motorists.
“The Chirag Dilli crossing sees a load of about 7,000 passenger car units (pcu) per hour and has become a major bottleneck after the BRT came up there. Now compare this to Moolchand that sees 16,000 pcu per hour and ITO crossing at 18,000 pcu per hour and you can imagine the congestion the BRT is going to unleash,” said P.K. Sarkar of the School Of Planning and Architecture.
Residents of areas along the proposed BRT corridor are also apprehensive. “What is the point in making a separate corridor?” asked Narinder Sethi, a resident of Jangpura Extension. “How will our children cross the roads? The whole stretch has become a death trap. Instead of making the roads better and smoother the government managed to make our lives difficult,” he said.
“The BRT corridor is a total failure and the stretch has already made our lives difficult as we cannot cross the road. We have kids who go to tuitions on the other side and we are worried for their safety,” said Harvinder Singh, general secretary, Lajpat Nagar III RWA.
The stretch would have 11 traffic intersections, apart from the existing Moolchand BRT intersection. Two of these at Defence Colony and CGO Complex would come up where none exist now and the four junctions at Subramaniam Bharti Marg, Shershah Road, Purana Quila Road and Bhagwan Dass Road are just minor intersections at present.
The situation at busy intersections like Oberoi Hotel, Bhairan Marg, Tilak Bridge, ITO and Delhi Gate can be well imagined.
The stretch between Moolchand and Oberai Hotel junction is a signal free ride right now and if you take a left turn towards Zakir Hussain Marg, the smooth ride continues. Now, there would be two stoppages in between.
Delhi Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta said work on this stretch would only start after the existing stretch is termed successful.
The Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd. said construction on the future stretches would be carried out with least inconvenience to road users.