Staff Reporter

VIJAYAWADA: The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC), which is implementing the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) project in the city, is contemplating plying the BRTS buses on trial basis from November 15 onwards.

This exercise is part of phase-I of the project, which is expected to be commissioned by December 2008. The corporation, during this phase, would ply the buses without taking up junction improvements, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), Foot-over-Bridges (FoBs) and other bridges and flyovers, which are part of the project.

The VMC organised a symposium on the project here on Monday, where Municipal Commissioner P. S. Pradyumna, Chief Engineer T. Anjaneyulu, Superintending Engineer G. Yohan, Deputy Executive Engineer P.L.N. Karthik, Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) Deputy Chief Traffic Manager A. Sudhakar and others spoke.

According to the officials, the APSRTC has agreed to spare 10 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses for the trial run. A BRTS bus would be available for the commuters every 12 minutes, as five buses would ply in an hour on both directions.

The APSRTC would be one of the partners of the Vijayawada Public Transport Services (VPTS) Company, which is proposed to be formed as a special purpose vehicle in the next two months. The other stakeholders would be the VMC and the Vijayawada Guntur Tenali Mangalagiri – Urban Development Authority (VGTM-UDA).

The buses will start at the city bus complex and reach there again after touching railway station goods shed, railway station, Satyanarayanapuram, Padavalarevu, Gunadala, Ramavarappadu ring road junction, Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences, Benz Circle, IGMC stadium, Vijayakrishna super market and old bus station.

The proposed circular route covers a distance of 15.5 km and would have 31 bus stops en route. It is part of the ‘green corridor’ (pilot corridor) that is being implemented at an estimated cost of Rs. 152.64 crores.

Rolling stock

The APSRTC would provide “rolling stock” for the project, and its central office is preparing designs for the BRTS buses. The Vijayawada regional office of the APSRTC has suggested to its headquarters to provide low floor buses for the project. However, there seems to be slim chances of introducing air-conditioned buses as planned earlier, as the officials, now, feel that the AC buses “might not be affordable” for the people of the city.

Though the fares are yet to be finalised, the officials are of the view that it would be in the range of Rs. 3 and Rs. 12.

On the success of the project, Mr. Pradyumna said: “There might not be immediate success for the BRTS project as it is planned for the traffic that is expected to be witnessed in the next 15 to 20 years. No country witnessed immediate response for the BRTS.”

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