Forty-five lakh bus commuters in the city will have to wait longer for dedicated bus lanes that will enable them to reach their destinations faster.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has claimed that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the traffic police are yet to give the Dedicated Bus Lane (DBL) programme a green signal.
These lanes were to be tested after Diwali however the project has still not taken off.
“We are ready to undertake the project but the BMC and traffic police have to help us with this venture. So far, we haven’t received any response from them,” metropolitan commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad said.
The MMRDA is supposed to fund the project while the BMC will be implementing it and the traffic police will have to ensure it runs smoothly.
OP Gupta, general manager of the BMC-controlled Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking, said BEST was waiting for the state government to clear the project. The traffic department, meanwhile, claimed it did not have the resources to make the proposed system work. “We require additional manpower and infrastructure to ensure that the system works. If MMRDA gives us that, we are ready to help start the project immediately,” deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Nandkumar Choughule said.
The MMRDA had mooted the dedicated bus lane concept earlier this year as a cheaper alternative to the Rs 1,200-crore Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS), which has been in the pipeline since 2003.
The BRTS involved earmarking lanes near the median of the road for the exclusive use of buses. The system also envisaged setting up bus stops on the median and bringing in new buses that have doors on the right side.
The MMRDA had pitched the DBL programme as a scaled-down version of the capital-intensive BRTS. The DBL programme would have helped commuters who use the 3,400-strong fleet of the BEST.