A near-empty bus lane, a long queue of cars, autos and two-wheelers in the motor vehicle lane and pedestrians jumping over the iron railings—nothing much seems to have changed in the past one year since Delhi's first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) was opened for trial run.
The only visible change is that the number of cars and two-wheelers jumping over to the bus lane has come down. Instead of honking at vehicles ahead, motorists now switch off the engine of their vehicles at busy intersections, seemingly reconciled to the fact that they cannot speed on this 5.8-kilometre stretch, between Dr Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand
hospital, as they would a year ago during the non-peak hours.
After receiving flak from the public as well as transport experts, the Delhi Government had come up with proposals to streamline traffic flow and improve pedestrian movement on BRT corridor. Proposals included construction of foot overbridges at points where pedestrian movement is heavy, construction of a parallel road, which could take vehicular load off the corridor and installing intelligent traffic system (ITS) for better flow of vehicles.
One year hence, there is little progress on the plan. The parallel road project has yet to get approval from the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC). Of the FOBs, construction has begun on one and ITS is stuck at the tender stage.
“Approvals take time to come in. Both the DDA technical committee and United Traffic and Transport Infrastructure Centre have approved the design of the parallel road and we expect approval from the DUAC soon. We have also finalised the tender for ITS system,” transport commissioner R.K.Verma said.
Officials insist traffic movement has improved on the corridor since its first trial run.
“The speed of buses has gone up by 19 per cent. Throughput of vehicles at all intersections has also improved. With the construction of parallel road, which should take about 7-8 months, 2 more lanes will be available to motorists. There has been no accident on this stretch in the past eight months," said Delhi chief secretary Rakesh Mehta, adding police has been told to clear encroachment from cycle and pedestrian lane.