Feasibility study for Mumbai BRTS to begin soon

By Nidhi Jamwal
Published: Monday 30 June 2008

mumbai is gearing up for the bus rapid transit system (brts). An eight-month-long feasibility study will begin in June. Faced with an "unmanageable" private traffic, the city hopes public transport will be welcome change. Transport consultant Sudhir Badami says that between 1951 and 2001, the road length in Mumbai has increased by 127 per cent and motorized vehicles have grown by 3,019 per cent.

"brts will encourage car owners to shift to public transport. We are in the process of finalizing a consultant who as part of the feasibility study will prepare a master plan for brts," says Srikant P, deputy transportation planner with Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (mmrda). A dedicated bus corridor will be launched at the eastern and western express highway and gradually expanded to Mumbai city.

Since December 2007, Brihan Mumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (best) has been running the Kinlong bus service with 20 air-conditioned cng buses. Commuters have responded positively and best has received requests for the services to be extended to other areas. The only problem is its plying frequency. The other project to strengthen Mumbai's transportation system is the Mumbai Urban Transport Project. But, say experts, it doesn't hold much promise.

"Despite the completion of the two phases, local trains will continue to be overloaded by about 70 per cent. The metro project will end up with a 30 per cent shortfall in capacity and cost more than Rs 60,000 crore at present prices. It will take 16 years to complete," says Badami. He argues that a combination of skybus and brts will take five years to implement with a much lower cost (Rs 6,000 crore) and with surplus carrying capacity (34 per cent excess). He estimates that one brts corridor in Mumbai can cater to 45,000 persons per hour per direction (pphpd). This, along with the suburban railway, will together carry 3 per cent more passengers than the overall need of 350,000 pphpd.

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