Delhi learns to live with BRT | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Delhi learns to live with BRT

Three months after it was made operational, things seem to be finally falling into place at the much-criticised 5.8km-long Bus Rapid Transit corridor, reports Sidhartha Roy.

delhi Updated: Jul 24, 2008 01:28 IST
Sidhartha Roy

The long wait at traffic intersections is still there and so are the jaywalkers and lane jumpers but the madness and chaos is now conspicuously missing. Three months after it was made operational, things seem to be finally falling into place at the much-criticised 5.8km-long Bus Rapid Transit corridor.

The opening of the BRT corridor between Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand on April 21 had unleashed utter chaos and congestion on the once smooth road. Tempers were frayed and scuffles became common as motorists had to wait up to 40 minutes to cross the Chirag Dilli crossing. The scene was similar at intersections like Archana, Saket and Pushpa Vihar. The traffic signals were not working and the pile-up of cars were a kilometer long and lane jumping was rampant.

Three months down the line, Hindustan Times went back to the stretch and found out traffic on the corridor has finally stabilized and motorists, cursing the new system till sometime ago, have now made their peace with it.

The changes

The first visible change at the corridor is the scrupulous lane discipline being displayed by motorists. In three hours HT spent at the corridor, not even one car or two-wheeler jumped into the nearly empty bus lane. More importantly, the waiting time at the traffic intersections has come down to a good extent. The constantly malfunctioning traffic signaling system of the corridor too is working efficiently now with separate signals for motorized vehicles, cycles and buses.

The infamous Chirag Dilli intersection, where a wait of 40 minutes was common three months ago, has become considerably smooth. It took us exactly 20 minutes to cross the red light in the morning rush hour. The situation has improved at other intersections also but there is a definite shift of traffic to parallel roads like Khelgaon Marg.

“The chaos has certainly subsided now and I sometimes manage to cross the junction in just one traffic cycle,” said Ubaid, a banker. “The corridor has certainly become better but I expect more improvement,” he said.

“Motorists have become accustomed to the system now and follow their own lanes. We don’t have heated altercations with them anymore,” said Ramesh (name changed), a traffic marshal at the Archana crossing.

Cycle tracks, however, are still violated by two-wheeler drivers, auto rickshaws and even small cars. At the busy Chirag Dilli junction, they even occupy the footpath and pedestrians can be seen walking precariously on the small boundary wall.

Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System Ltd. (DIMTS), which is supervising the project, has finally deployed cranes near the stretch. There was no broken down car to be seen on the stretch, a common scene earlier.

Bus users happy

“This system is the best for bus users. They run smoothly with a good speed and are faster than the auto rickshaws now,” said Atul Singh, who works for Green Park based private firm.

Almost all bus commuters we spoke to echo Singh’s sentiments. Better signages at bus bays means they don’t have to ask for directions. Passenger information boards showing expected time of arrival of buses (the kind of display boards you see at Airports and Metro stations) not only give an efficient, sophisticated look but are also appreciated by commuters.