The road to urban development has rarely run smooth. And we can expect a few more roadblocks with Delhi asking the Centre for funds for buses to ply the controversial Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors. This a bit like putting the axle before the wheel given the mess that the BRT is in.
The very premise of the BRT, to get people to use public transport, was to reckon without the doughty Delhiwallahs whose notions of status involve stepping out of chauffeured cars as close to the entrance of the building they are visiting. Our VIPs, whenever they deign to use the BRT, hurtle down the bus lanes, holding up traffic further. Then to complicate matters we have the darters who wait poised on the edge of the road divider only to make a death-defying leap across the road as a vehicle approaches. According to many who have used the BRT, one is lucky to get out of its narrow lanes with one’s sanity, if not one’s life, intact. The confusion on the BRT issue is not just confined to the roads but also the minds of its planners. Having laid it out on the lines of the one in Bogota, the planners then admitted that things were not going quite so well here, perhaps on account of Delhi having millions more commuters than Bogota. The next bit of news was that it would be remodelled by a London-based agency. Now all that has been parked and the solution appears to a few more buses.
We await with bated breath the next plan to get the BRT up and running. Why do we get the feeling that we are being taken for a right royal ride?