Ahmedabad's BRTS completes 2 years
When chief minister Narendra Modi flagged off the first Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) bus on Chandranagar-RTO route on October, 14, 2009, there were slight apprehensions about its success. The BRTS experiment in New Delhi had just flopped. But, two years on, Janmarg has beaten all expectations and turned into a lifeline for lakhs of commuters in thecity, ferrying 1.40 lakh daily in a fleet of 77 buses. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) officials say that 2012 will be a landmark year for the project as 44 kms additional route in and around Ahmedabad will be completed, thus doubling the capacity of current operations. AMC also plans to introduce prepaid smart cards to commuters, a practice that’s globally prevalent. While the original idea was to provide the cards as Diwali gift this year, the scheme will now be materialized in early 2012. Utpal Padia, deputy municipal commissioner and executive director, Janmarg said that the trials carried out on the new corridors have been satisfactory. The barriers used along with the smart cards have been ordered from China and will soon be installed at the existing BRTS stops after educating people about their use, said Padia. Talking about two years of BRTS, the official said, “We got good support from the citizens. BRTS has put Ahmedabad on world map and got us many laurels and awards in these two years. There were many challenges that we overcame and there are various issues on which the work is on.” “We project the revenues from BRTS to go up to almost double to Rs 14-15 lakh and ferry 3 lakh to 4 lakh passengers on daily basis,”said Padia. BRTS has won accolades from international experts. Walter Hook, executive director,Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), who was one of the earliest transportation experts involved in BRTS project, gave thumbsup to the project during his recent visit and said that with some changes, the project can match gold standard of rapid transit systems world over.