'Delhi BRT can learn from Gujarat model'

The Delhi government’s transport department has decided to extend the Chirag Dilli-Moolchand BRT corridor up to Delhi Gate and hand over its operation and maintenance to the Public Works Department.

This effectively means that the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) – a joint venture company with the Delhi government – will be divested of its role in the BRT.

The intense negative publicity of the bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor in Delhi and the delay in expanding the trial stretch into a bigger network seem to have done it in, says an Ahmedabad-based expert who is involved in designing the “Janmarg” BRT in Gujarat’s largest city.

The observations by Abhijit Lokre, associate professor, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University, who was part of the team which designed Janmarg, could help the city planners who now are trying to extend the existing stretch.

Lokre told Deccan Herald that Delhi officials could perhaps learn from the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation which took charge of the project as the single authority and lured commuters to use the BRT by offering free rides for the initial three months.

“In Delhi, the time a commuter saves on the corridor between Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand is lost when the buses get stuck in jams near the zoo and the ITO. This issue needs to be addressed to make commuters switch from private vehicles to BRT,” Lokre said.

The Gujarat expert also suggested a rethink on the long traffic light signals for other road users along the BRT corridor.

“Some of the lights near the Chirag Dilli are as long as six minutes. This is the reason why other road users and even BRT users have developed a negative opinion about the corridor,” he said.

“The BRT corridor on its own is not a villain, it is its execution which has earned it negative publicity in Delhi,” Lokre, who was recently in Delhi.

 Under the new plan the Intelligent Signalling System (ISS) on the BRT, presently maintained by DIMTS, shall be maintained by the Delhi Traffic Police, Kuldeep Singh Gangar, Special Commissioner (Planning and Projects), Transport Department said.  
He said the street lights on the BRT corridor shall now be maintained by the PWD while the revenue earnings from the Bus Queue Shelters (BQS) on the BRT corridor shall be paid to DTIDC which will also maintain the bus queue shelter.

Lokre said the gains from the BRT in Delhi will be visible when the network is expanded and commuters realise that the corridor buses are moving faster than the private vehicles on the same stretch.

“In Ahmedabad, the number of road accidents have also come down on stretches on which the BRT has been built,” he said, highlighting the benefit of less congestion on roads due to people avoiding private vehicles over the BRT buses.

The Delhi BRT project is 14.5 km on paper, but only the Chirag Dilli-Moolchand stretch is currently operationalised.

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