Mumbai’s first Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) corridor will be constructed in such a way that it can be turned into a metro corridor in future, if the number of commuters increases substantially.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) revived the BRTS plan recently, and decided to construct the first corridor on the Western Express highway (WEH) from Bandra to Dahisar.
“The BRTS corridor on WEH will be an elevated three-lane structure. We are planning to construct it in such way that it can be turned into a metro corridor in future, when the number of commuters exceeds the capacity of the BRTS. The change in design, however, will lead to a slight increase in the proposed cost,” said a senior MMRDA official, requesting anonymity.
The construction cost of the project is pegged at Rs60-70 crore for every km. The corridor, which will be built on the WEH, is expected to be ready in three to five years and will have eight to ten stations.
Transport expert Akhtar Chauhan said, “It is a good idea. Since Mumbai does not have enough space for roads due to its topography, authorities need to think of developing a network of transport infrastructure at an elevation.”
According to the latest plan, there will be three lanes for the BRTS corridor – one each for traffic from two directions and a third to be used in emergencies, in case a bus breaks down. This emergency corridor will also be used for ambulances and fire brigades.
Experts believe the system will help reduce the number of cars on the roads, as it provides a comfortable and faster alternative to car travel, at a cheaper rate.
MMRDA officials said the plan will be implemented along the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) in future, based on the response that the BRTS on the WEH receives.
Although there have been lengthy discussions about the BRTS since the late 90s, the plans have remained on paper till very recently.