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Bus lanes on western express highway to make your commute in Mumbai smoother

The project is meant to decongest Mumbai’s roads, ensure that buses ply faster and emergency services such as ambulances and fire brigades are not caught in snarls

mumbai Updated: Aug 22, 2017 09:14 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Mumbai commute,Western Express Highway
HT, in its #BESTBachao campaign, had recommended that dedicated bus lanes be introduced.(HT File)

Mumbaiites, your commute is about to get a lot smoother. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) plans to start dedicated bus lanes on the Western Express Highway (WEH) after the Metro is commissioned. The nodal agency for Metro projects said this will decongest roads, ensure that buses ply faster and emergency services such as ambulances and fire brigades are not caught in snarls.

HT, in its #BESTBachao campaign, had recommended that dedicated bus lanes be introduced.

A senior MMRDA official said the idea behind such lanes was to “decongest arterial roads” once an alternative mode of transport is launched. Pravin Darade, additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA, said that once the Metro is operational, 25% to 30% private vehicles will be off the road.

“We plan to demarcate one lane in each direction for buses and emergency services on arterial roads — starting with the Western Express Highway — once Metro lines are ready. We are talking about a world-class transportation service. Dedicated lanes are a part of it,” said Darade. The MMRDA is in charge of the 26.5-km WEH till 2022.

The authority is currently in the process of completing the Dahisar (East) and Andheri (East) Metro 7 and the Dahisar-DN Nagar Metro 2A corridors. The DN Nagar to Bandra-Mankhurd Metro 2B and Wadala-Ghatkopar-Thane-Kasarvadavali Metro 4 are still being bid on.

The plan to introduce a dedicated lane for public transport in Mumbai has remained in the discussion stage for many years. Despite such a lane being successful in Bandra-Kurla Complex, it has not been replicated elsewhere. Sources said political leaders and bureaucrats are convinced that a space-starved city such Mumbai cannot accommodate bus lanes.

Transport expert Ashok Datar, who is in favour of such lanes, welcomed the move. “WEH is probably the only road in Mumbai that could accommodate a dedicated lane, owing to its width. Authorities should not wait till 2019 to introduce the lane, it should be made a priority,” he said.

Such bus lanes are likely to increase commuters’ reliance on BEST.

First Published: Aug 21, 2017 19:09 IST