Pune BRTS Update

Pune’s introduction to Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) has proved in turns controversial and commendatory. But while critics say it was inaugurated in haste, creates more traffic chaos, and is the cause of accidents, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is committed to it. The civic body is confident of completing the pilot project by December this year and phase I, covering a 52-km stretch across the city, by December 2009.“The Swargate-Katraj-Hadapsar stretch will be ready by December and we are completing all the works, including a cycle track and service roads,” municipal commissioner Pravinsinh Pardeshi said.The BRT project covers a distance of 117 km. In the first phase, the PMC intends to formulate the 52-km stretch across the city. The remaining will be done in the second phase of the project.Under JNNURM, the central government sanctioned Rs 62 crore for the implementation of the BRT system that was inaugurated ahead of the civic elections. The urban development department further approved Rs 476 crore funds for the 10 phase I routes across the city. A total of Rs 1,000 crore has been approved ‘in principle’ for the entire BRT project, including phase II. However, the cost of the project has escalated. The cost of Phase I, which was estimated at Rs 476 crore, has crossed Rs 773 crore. The civic body attributes the escalation to various aspects, including the rise in rates of construction material. “However, there will be no problems in implementing the projects as the central government has already given the goahead for the escalated cost,” said Pardeshi. In 2006 the BRTS, the first in the country, was launched in Pune with much fanfair. Citizens and civic groups raised a hue and cry and argued that the project was implemented in haste, but this fell on deaf ears. The project ultimately found itself in a mess with frequent accidents taking place on the routes. Finally, the civic administration admitted that there had been no integrated project report when it was launched! The BRTS had been started without a detailed project report (DPR) covering elements like reserved lanes, ofboard ticketing, an intelligent transport survey, integration with other modes of transport, routes and fares, depots, buses and financial, managerial and operational structure to run the system."There was political pressure to inaugurate the incomplete pilot BRT route as the ruling party wanted to cash in on votes. We were left with no option but to allow the inauguration of the project, which was not even halfdone,” admitted a civic official. However with JNNURM funds flowing, the civic body is confident of completing the BRTS routes in the given period of time.

1 comment:

Siddhesh said...

Yes, people may crib that it has been done in haste, and yes, maybe some of it could have been done better - but frankly, given the overall state of affairs in the city, I think BRTS qualifies as a super success - 99% of the traffic still leaves the corridors open, the busses still run packed and are very comfortable and clean.

What we need are good parking plazas near BRTS stations, to allow wannabe commuters to drive/ride up to the BRTS stations and go onwards from there.