No solution for corridor trouble

Traffic mess

The recent decision by Delhi High Court to allow the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor to continue has not only dealt a major blow to Nyaya Bhoomi, the NGO who had filed the PIL for its scrapping citing commuter inconvenience primarily, but also sent shock waves amongst commuters and residents, of the areas surrounding the BRT, alike.

The court judgement states that in a City where population is on the increase, public transport should be given priority. Further, the court said, “There being no scope to expand the width of the existing roads and the population of Delhi continuously being on rise, we see no escape from the fact that the citizens of Delhi have to, one day or the other, use public transport.”

But members of Residents Welfare Association (RWA) around the area say that the judgement does not take into account plight of the commuters. “The basic problem with BRT is lack of space,” says Praveen, RWA member, Madangir. “Nearly 5000 buses ply on the bus lane while more than 100,000 vehicles move on vehicular lanes. The ratio itself is proof, as to why there are hours of traffic jams from Ambedkar Nagar to Moolchand BRT corridor.”

In addition, Madangir has only one exit point which leads to vehicular load. “Though the circle timing has been increased to keep corridor clear but it is of no help due to rush of vehicles in the peak hours which takes us back to square one, i.e. wastage of time in traffic jams. For Madangir residents, both these factors cause inconvenience,” says Praveen.

Terming it as a dictatorship to impose methods which are not for benefit of the people, the RWA member adds, “The Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) has cleared that traffic movement was more efficient without the BRT but the government quotes statistics that buses travel faster on the corridor. But what is the use is the fast lane if the buses do not come on time?”

Supporting Praveen’s view, Ish Bhargawa, secretary RWA Siri Fort says, “My son study in Birla Vidya Niketan. Earlier, it took us only 10 minutes to reach his school but now we have to wait for 30-40 minutes at BRT. If I decide to go by public transport then too, the buses are not on the right time.  Sometimes one has to wait for 15 to 20 minutes for the bus.” In such a scenario, who would prefer taking public transport as envisaged by the HC and the government?

Ish also enquires as to why the BRT corridors are being forced if people are not happy with the system. “If the government is planning a parallel road, then it clearly indicates that BRT is not being able to bear burgeoning vehicles and questions the very premise as to why a BRT was constructed in the first place.”

However, Dr Balwinder Singh, resident of Panchsheel Enclave believes that BRT is a good concept which allows for streamlined vehicular movement, if implemented correctly.

“Traffic is the foremost problem here which needs to be addressed otherwise the concept, if implemented right, has the potential to change traffic scenario in the Capital.”

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