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BRTS for Bangalore: feasibility, suggestions

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Bus

I was reading through some of the BRTS all over the world both failed and success stories. I wanted to check how feasible to implement this in Bangalore and is there any other alternative to improve the existing system. The major reasons of BRTS failure are:

  1. Underutilized bus lanes: This was one of the Major reasons for Delhi BRTS to fail as the frustrated vehicle owners choose to use this lane.
  2. Difficulty in accessing bus platforms: Commuters faced horrible time to get the bus stops amid heavy traffic in some of the bus junctions.
  3. Cost of the Project: One of the reasons why many corporations hesitate to invest in this.
  4. Location of the Bus Stops: Integrating the Bus Stops with the Metro line was not given priority (Delhi).

Also, we need to always keep in mind that BRTS getting success in one city may fail in another unless the exact requirement of the city is addressed. Every city has different requirements and challenges.

Now, let us see on what our city has or expects out of a BRTS system

  1. We have a huge IT crowd which is dependent on the Bus Transport and majority of the IT hub are connected by Ring Road or nearer to it.(like Manyata Embassy Tech Park, Marthahalli, Bannerghatta Road, Electronic City, Whitefield, etc.,)
  2. Narrow roads and hurdles in widening the road because of
    1. Cost
    2. Environmental Problems
  3. Positive mentality of the people to use Public Transport: Evident in people participation for Bus Day, Car Pool initiatives etc.,

So we need a bus transport system which addresses the above requirement and also overcomes the difficulties faced by the failed BRTS system. Here are my suggestions to improve the existing Bus Transport system which can eventually lead to a successful BRTS for Bangalore.

1.       Integrate Bus Stops with Skywalks/Subways:

This needs to be done on a place where we have a big road and good passenger traffic. Example would be near Software Park like Manyata Embassy Tech Park, Bellandur in Marathahalli. I have drawn a picture which gives an idea.

 

These kinds of Bus Stops should be planned in a place where we have wide roads, like our Ring road, and with a dedicated bus lane for 250mts (debatable) on either side. This would avoid BMTC drivers shifting lanes near the bus stops and inherently make the right most lane of the Road only for BMTC. This would also inhibit a lane concept for the vehicle users which our traffic police are trying very hard to address.

2.       Connecting each Bus Stop with a Camera and display board (ITS):

Any violation of Bus Lane by private vehicle users will be caught on camera and can be penalized. This will also address the security issues in the Bus Stops.

3.       Using Bus Cluttering to an advantage:

One of the main problems is bus cluttering. In the heart line of the city there will be buses plying for different routes on the main heart line. So at a time there might be four- five buses in the same bus stop. The 250mtrs bus lane gives us an option to have three to four bus bays where each bus bay is allocated based on the entry of the buses.

4.       Cost:

Since this involves only Constructing Bus Stops and integrating with existing/ planned Skywalks/Subways the initial implementation cost will be minimal.

5.       Need buses with doors on the Right Side:

The only disadvantage I see the need for buses with doors on Right Side for passenger entry. Well if you consider BMTC’s plan to introduce more buses it should not that much a difficulty to address this.

I went through the blog on Bus Priority System but could not get more details on Priority signals. Praja is doing a wonderful job of giving a platform for every citizen to share their idea, vision and concern for Bangalore.I would like to see more discussion on these topics which helps people of Bangalore.

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Comments

silkboard's picture

welcome, nice post

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Welcome to these forums coolguru143. We have had a lot of talk on BRTS in year 2011, there should be a lot of content under http://praja.in/en/tags/BRTS and http://praja.in/en/tags/BPS

Will go through your list of suggestions. But the BRTS thread, on execution side is stuck for lack of understanding and ownership (based on my minimal experience interacting with and tracking BMTC and BDA on this).

  • BRTS/BPS like projects are not undestood as well by the agencies, they are not able to explain to their bosses well enough that this project is not just an incremental add-on to BMTC's services. People like big budget or visibly different projects, incremental work doesn't get the mindshare.
  • Any BRTS/BPS project will involve BMTC (rolling stock), BBMP (road use), traffic police (traffic planning for lane/signals etc) and possibly BDA (if its their road). Someone needs to anchor the project across all the agencies

Plus, on technical side, "Bangalore roads are not wide enough" kills serious talk of BRTS in the city linits (inside ORR). On the announced projects (on Outer Ring Road), there haven't been any promising updates recently on what will be done and by when. You would notice how all flyovers on Outer Ring Road have center lane for Buses. So while the thought is on, there still are no glimpses of (what will it look like when done) eventual BRTS on ORR.

Other thing on policy maker side (again, standard disclaimer - based on our experience so far) is the tendency to see everything as possible competition to Metro. Asking for any new big investment for mass-transit runs into "so much money already invested in Metro" at some point of time or other. This too may or may not be a fair point dependin on your philosophy

  • feasibility first, funding then, or
  • build it first, and reshape city or create new demand, or

Anyway. Not that all of above can't be solved. Technical discussion (within interest groups like Praja etc) to make the BRTS proposal more attractive (as in should look high impact, non-incremental, answer the why not Metro) is always a good thing. But, doing advocacy work inside the government without packaging the proposal well could be risky. Best is to separate the two.

If we can package a citizen demand or call to action report type thing now, and float it prominently in public domain, good chance that it may get noticed when the new government (post elections, due anytime now) comes in and does its initial enthu things (that they all do in the first 100 days).

coolguru143's picture

Does BMTC have any tie up with Research Institute?

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Thanks for the detailed info.  CEPT University spearheaded the planning and implementation of BRTS in Ahmedabad. Does BMTC have any tie up with Research Institute?

Thanks,

Guru

Vasanth's picture

BMTC is more profit oriented than Research Oriented :)

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Based on my experience of daily travel from almost 3 years. From Praja, we promoted Bus Days like Namma Railu now to get more passengers and rather more business.

3 years back, to promote Volvos, BMTC ran 1 rupee service on somedays. Now, for single day to travel 28 kms, I have to pay hefty 75 rupees compared to 31 rupees 3 years back.

Coming to the service, we had better service 3 years back when fare was 31 rupees, now with all the Volvos and Marcopolos provided to ORRCA, Manyata Tech Park and GVK, frequency is very minimal. Long waits in the bus stop. Atleast we do not have any 'Intelligence' when the bus will arrive like the ITS in Mysore.

I don't think BMTC would ever go with such 'innovative' and 'commuter' friendly ideas. It is more keen on how much it is going to loose during a diesel hike and increase the fare by 5 rupees for 50 paise raise in diesel per litre.

 

Vasanth's picture

Delhi Court dismisses plea to scrap BRT - A good say by judges

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