The Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) between Silk Board Junction and Hebbal on the Outer Ring Road is expected to become a reality soon as the State Government has promised budgetary support for it, said Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) Managing Director Syed Zameer Pasha.
He was participating in a plenary session on Bus Priority System at a workshop on urban mobility jointly organised by the Centre for Infrastructure, Scientific Transportation and Urban Planning (CiSTUP) of the Indian Institute of Science and Praja.in here on Monday.
Responding to a statement from moderator Pranav Jha of Praja.in that BRTS was being talked for over five years and nothing has transpired, Mr. Pasha said a high-powered committee, chaired by the Chief Secretary, gave the go-ahead for the project recently.
All the stakeholders — Bangalore Development Authority, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, Bangalore Traffic Police and BMTC — are in unison about the implementation of the project, estimated to cost about Rs. 500 crore. BMTC will procure the rolling stock – high-speed and high-capacity buses, he said.
The proposal to have Bus Priority System on HAL Airport Road too could be seriously considered provided the agencies involved come to an agreement, Mr. Pasha added.
Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) Managing Director Gaurav Gupta said BRTS was more suitable for Bangalore than BPS. He said KSRTC was planning BRTS on four corridors in Mysore, which criss-cross at the centre of the city. Initially, one corridor will be developed on an experimental basis, he added.
Balachandran from Urban Alchemy said before BPS was introduced on HAL Airport Road, certain basic issues, such as continuous investment; priority to buses, pedestrians and bicycles; bus lanes on the left side of the road and a strict ‘no parking' on the arterial road, should be ensured. Urban planner R.K. Mishra said BPS was worth emulating and has been in practice in many Asian cities.
Though traffic expert M.N. Sreehari agreed that BPS was a good system to woo users of private vehicles to public transport, he said HAL Airport Road might not be suitable for pilot project. Instead, Bellary Road from Mekhri Circle should be taken for the pilot project, he suggested saying the frequency of buses on this trunk route was high.
Chief Minister's Adviser on Urban Affairs A. Ravindra chaired the session.
Inaugurating the workshop, Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath said the Government was serious on giving statutory powers to the Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA), the umbrella agency to coordinate all transport-related issues in Bangalore.
He urged CiSTUP to offer technical solutions to the chaotic traffic scenario in the city and assured that the Government would implement them. CiSTUP Chairman T.G. Sitharam was also present.