Bengaluru

Citizens seek bus rapid transit system

But, government looks the other way

Despite the State government’s preference for big-ticket projects rather than simpler solutions, experts from across the globe have stressed on the need for a Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) in the city to cope with the unfettered vehicular growth.

Currently, the city sees 1 crore trips (in buses, autorickshaws, private vehicles, among others). The number is projected to touch 1.5 crore trips by 2025, says a report by WRI-India, an urban think tank.

Even if the proposed Phase II of Namma Metro were to come up by then, it would cater to just around 20 lakh people – leaving the rest to battle for space on the city’s road, warned the report which became the talking point at the #UnlockBLR discussions organised by WRI India on Saturday.

To ensure that the city’s growth does not result in further congestion, transport experts believe that Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) should increase its fleet size to at least 12,500 buses while BRTS must be taken up in key roads, such as the Outer Ring Road.

However, the cash-strapped BMTC says this seems improbable, given the current mandate of the corporation to ‘fend for itself’.

“BMTC’s revenues cannot cope with the city’s growth. The Corporation is running in loss, and the situation is such that BMTC will make more money not running buses,” said Ekroop Caur, Managing Director, BMTC. She believes it is imperative for the State government to extend financial support for the procurement of additional buses.

At the seminar, experts from Mexico City and Rio De Janeiro – which rapidly constructed a 160-km BRTS system in preparation for the upcoming Olympics – batted for the need to ensure buses are given either priority lanes or BRTS. “What Bengaluru is facing now, is what Brazil faced 40 years ago. We thought metro would solve everything. But this never happened. It is the right time for Bengaluru to take the buses out of congestion. Now, in Brazil, we have 12 million people using BRTS each day,” said Toni Lindau, WRI Brazil Sustainable Cities Director.

No BRTS: Minister

Despite the repeated emphasis on dedicated bus lanes in the city, Bengaluru Development Minister K.J. George excluded the concept from his long-term vision to tackle traffic problems.

“We are yet to take a call on implementing dedicated bus lanes on Outer Ring Road as BMRCL wants to build a line on that corridor,” he said.

Instead, he stressed on ‘large-scale’ projects, including elevated corridors, metro connectivity and steel flyovers.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 10:30:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/Citizens-seek-bus-rapid-transit-system/article14481532.ece

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