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Metro isn?t the way out

Minister Jaipal Reddy agrees that increasing the fleet of buses is not the answer to the growing population of cities.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2006 17:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

For cities desperately trying to break the yoke of traffic congestion there is no better model than Curitiba, a south Brazilian state with a population of 2.4 million people.

Curitiba's low-cost but efficient High Capacity Bus Transit (BRT) system is one success story that everyone wants to emulate.

Transport experts taking part in a seminar on alternative technologies for public transport in the city were quite bullish on this cheaper alternative to metro rail.

The three-day seminar was organised by the Urban Development Ministry.

Union Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy agreed that high cost metro or increasing the fleet of buses is not the answer to the future of cities whose population is expected to double in the next 25 years.

"There is no escaping the BRT system which should have feeder services and would allow people to seamlessly travel to their destination through single ticketing system," the minister said while inaugurating the seminar.

The aim of the seminar is to make decision makers of various states see the public transport options available and make informed choices for their own cities.

The Centre has offered assistance to the states under the Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission for adopting appropriate public transport systems that are non-polluting and people-friendly.

According to Lee Schipper, Director World Resources Institute, Washington, BRT system has been successfully imple mented in New Mexico City.

Drawing parallels between Latin American cities and Indian cities, the transport expert said that in both places, the government authorities are ignoring the rise of private motor vehicles.

The freeways and flyovers do not solve the problem but only add to the congestion, he added.

Herman Knoflacher, Professor at the University of Technology, Vienna, said that there is a disturbing trend of putting public transport systems above ground (elevated systems) or underground (metro) and this actually results in 50 per cent loss of passengers.

He added that implementing BRT would be a bold decision as it would restore the right of the common man on public space that have been usurped by cars. The experts were of the view that growth of cars as the main mode of transport is cancerous and destroys cities.

First Published: Mar 22, 2006 17:05 IST