The 70 violet-coloured air-conditioned King Long buses manufactured by China for the city’s roads are ready to ply. But they’re not.
Reason? The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking is blaming the state government for delay in implementing the Bus Rapid Transit Project (BRTS).
“We are tired of waiting for the project to begin. It’s been more than three years since we had asked for a dedicated bus lane between Sion and Thane, but still we haven’t got it,” said BEST General Manager Uttam Khobragade.
The dedicated King Long (the brand name of the Chinese made buses) buses were to ply on the Eastern and Western Express highways.
However, the project cannot progress unless the construction of flyovers at Dr Ambedkar Road on the Eastern Express Highway is completed.
R Ramanna, Additional Chief Planner, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), said, “The completion of these flyovers are necessary before implementing BRTS which requires bus to run close to the median.”
Work on one flyover at the Times Junction on Western Express Highway, while others like the one at Dr Ambedkar road is underway.
It will take at least a year for them to be built, after which BRTS trials will begin.
Sources in MMRDA said that BRTS wouldn’t take off before March 2010.
The BEST will be bringing in additional 1,000 buses, which would also include King Long buses.
MMRDA officials said that their hands were full planning the Metro Rail and Monorail projects, which is causing the delay.
“Many meetings on BRTS haven't happened, including the empowered committee meeting on infrastructure. Decision will be taken only after the elections,” said a senior government official, requesting anonymity.