Ahmedabad BRTS a success story
Right from concept to the unique marketing strategy of giving free rides in the first three months, Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) has been different. According to Ahmedabad Janmarg Limited(AJL) authorities, the free trial runs were part of a participatory development approach, a kind of social marketing strategy to let public adopt the transport project and it was successful in changing the travel pattern of the city. In a survey conducted by CEPT University on Janmarg in month of April, 2010, it revealed that 56.9 percent commuters use the BRTS service for travelling to their workplaces, 25.8 per cent passengers for social work and rest for educational purposes. Municipal commissioner IP Gautam said BRTS was put in public domain inviting people to participate and give their feedback. “The free trial runs for three months and idea of bringing professionals from different backgrounds for a test ride during initial phase did wonders,” said Gautam. According to him, the trial strategy was meant to popularise the project and get user response at the same time.During the initial months of operation, AJL authorities organised a dedicated BRTS tour especially for city-based industrialists, doctors, chartered accountants, religious heads, politicians, police officers, physically challenged children, among others. Chief planner of Janmarg and associate director, CEPT University, Prof Sivanand Swamy opined, “These tours gave people a chance to get a feel of the new mode of transport. The innovative exercise helped in creating word-of-mouth publicity about the service.” BRTS has broken the class barrier with an entire mix of people from different socio-economic backgrounds using it for commuting, he added. Now, Ahmedabad has joined the esteemed list of cities, including Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Bogota, Santiago, Lima, Beijing, Taipei and Hanoi, which have a BRTS system, that has proved a hit with the masses.