Act fast

Published: Saturday 31 May 2008

Act fast

Down to Earth The BRT concept cannot be abandoned

The clock is ticking fast. Roads in Indian cities are getting saturated by vehicles. There is no option but to build a public transport system efficient and attractive enough to replace cars. Therefore, the brt concept cannot be abandoned; it must be improved to make it work. The Delhi government has a few plans like coordinating signals. They will be automated and the signal length will vary during peak and non-peak traffic hours. As for accusations of lack of coordination and cooperation between agencies, the government says the mistake will not be repeated in the next stretch of the brt corridor. The Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System will be in charge of the corridor. So many cities in the country are setting up brt that we cant get the buses as soon as we would like to.The companies, Tata and Ashok Leyland, are getting inundated with orders, says the Delhi chief secretary.

The success of the Delhi brt cannot be judged in a few weeks. It will take time and discipline. One measure will be whether the number of private vehicles on the road reduces. And that wont happen until various public transit systems are interconnected and parking facilities created for car users, so that they can take the bus. Making public transport score over cars in terms of comfort, speed, accessibility, cost and convenience is a tall order but not impossible. Giving buses a right of way is in everybodys interest; it frees space for cars, for in unsegregated traffic buses block two lanes.

Urban India has no choice but to board the bus.

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