Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ahmedabad BRTS - A role model and the best so far

Half the road occupied with people just to board the buses.

The picture above is a common sight in Indian cities. Buses, trucks, 2 wheelers, 4 wheelers, 3 wheeler autos, rickshaws - all move in lanes at random and no lane discipline is followed. Perhaps, this was the same problem in Brazil and Columbia and that's when Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) was implemented and is today a success story in itself.

What is BRTS?

Bus rapid transit takes part of its name from rapid transit which describes a high-capacity transport system with its own right-of-way, its alignment often being elevated or running in tunnels, and typically running long trains at short headways of a few minutes.

BRTS in India:

When Delhi's CM Sheila Dikshit decided to have BRTS system in Delhi, there was a lot of protest from every corner, yet she went ahead to implement Phase - 1. It was partially successful because it was improperly designed and executed. Phase - II was a disaster. However, the UPA Govt under Manmohan Singh gave green signals to start BRTS in Pune, Ahmedabad, Vishakaptnam, Bangalore and many other cities. Clearly, Ahmedabad is the front runner in terms of achieving an extremely well designed, executed and satisfying BRTS in the country. It was recently awarded the best BRTS system in the country by Dr. Manmohan Singh. It has now been nominated at an International level for effective implementation of public transportation system in any city in the world. Read here for this

Below, are 2 pictures of the effect of the newly introduced BRTS in Ahmedabad. One can see clearly dedicated lanes for public buses without other lanes being disturbed. Other vehicles don't enter this lane and buses don't enter lanes other than ones dedicated to them. Result: Buses can move faster in their lanes and stop or proceed without waiting for any other vehicle.

Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB) initiated the plan after Delhi did so and then consulted Center for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) Ahmedabad prepared a feasibility report and due to the efforts of its head Prof. Shivanand Swamy, GIDB and Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) - New York together started working and a special purpose vehicle called AHMEDABAD JANMARG LIMITED (AJL) was created under the Central Govt's JNNURM(Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) scheme.

Salient features:

Dedicated bus lanes at the center of the road - 2 one for each way. These dedicated lanes move along with the normal traffic (i.e in different lanes) and while taking turns meet each other.

Each bus stop has a separate pavement for people crossing and lanes on either sides for buses to move so that passengers can get down on one side and if needed board another bus on the other side. In this process, they don't CROSS THE ROAD and WILL BE IN THE BUS LANE and move out unless they have to cross road and the road crossings are made suitably (4th and 5th Pic below) so that people can't just cross anywhere they like. This has helped control the traffic movement.

More about the Bus stops:

1) Bus stops have ramps specially to make them disabled friendly

2) Bus Stops have detailed route maps and fare details - BOTH IN ENGLISH AND GUJARATI. I think this is the best part - See pictures below -

Even "You are Here" indications on the map can be seen.

3) There are proper LED displays of the bus stop and the buses that will stop at a particular stop
and the wait time for the next bus. The bus frequency is anywhere between 4 to 8 minutes.

4) At night times, there is proper illumination and everywhere there is proper signage showing Entry, Exit points. At every bus stop the stop name is illuminated at night.

5) Bus stops are simple and elegant in design.

6) Bus stops have Smart Card System that one needs to enter and board the train.

Now, coming to BUSES:

1) Buses run totally on CNG - Environmentally friendly, less pollution.

2) Buses (at least most of them) are Air Conditioned.
3) Buses are fitted with GPS.
4) Requires a SMART CARD to enter the bus

One can also get it at the counter by paying money to an agent if required

5) The floor of the buses co-incide with the floor level of bus stand/stop and is friendly even to disabled.

6) Of course, buses do have LED displays of bus stops and route info.

The complete map which has been implemented (80 km) is as given below, taken from the official site

By 2011, the entire city will have BRTS stretching for 300 km and will have 90 bus stops.

Further, Surat and Gandhinagar plan to have BRTS by 2011.

When will Bangalore have it? Well, first of all let all existing flyovers and Metro's Phase 1 get completed because as it is the city is facing lot of traffic diversions, jams due to these...

Definitely, Ahmedabad BRTS is the way to go to streamline bus traffic in cities which cause a hell lot of problem for all other vehicles.

Once, The CM Narendra Modi travelled in these buses without guards and assessed if people liked it or not. This was a shock and surprise to all.

Further References:

IMAGES COURTESY: google, skyscrapercity, janmarg website, times of India


devi said...

great work from government

Dr. Manmohan Singh said...

We are trying our best to make India the best place to live on the planet, baki saab rab di marzi!

Man Mohan said...

Ahmedabad has demostrated that we INDIAN can also do BEST on our LAND INDIA.

Let us take this as model and repeat at ALL other locations in INDIA..

Surya said...

Dear Sir, thanks for bringing this .
Hats off to Modi and team. Political will is demonstrated in this project.
Now we know everyone is jealous of Modi. It is the locally elected government in the other states who are unable to do what Gujarath has done.This is an eye opener for ohter states in India.

Alok said...

This is great work.

It will be good if implemented in all major cities.

Adarsh Bhat said...

Good stuff. The problem with this system of having buses in the center lane seems to be that people have to cross busy streets and interrupt traffic all the time!

Anantha said...

Hi Anjan,

I really like this article. Narendra Modi has done a great job. India needs this kind of transportation system especially cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai, chennai, hydrabad etc. This kind of system helps the city and also the commuters a lot. I think Modi has answered to all those people who try to tarnish his name by only raising the post Godhra incidence.

Anonymous said...

i appreciate the work of narendra modi.....really great.

if modi will be on prime minister's seat then whole india would enjoy service of BRTS..

Anonymous said...

Some great photos and info but it is incorrect that the buses are all CNG... none of them are yet but later it is planned that 50% of them will be. Also the smart card system is in place but has not actually been put in to practice yet. Currently no buses are air-conditioned but there are plans underway to introduce them by summer. Having mentioned all these discrepancies, I agree it is a great development and I was thoroughly impressed when I was in Ahmedabad to cover the system recently for an upcoming article.

shubhendu said...

super work from narendra modi & company.i wish if punjab can learn something from modi & company

Tamilselvan Balakrishnan said...

Nice Work from Gujarat Govt.Indian Govt must implement this to all over India.Its my wish.Let c How it goes


Congrats to Gujarat Govt and people who are lucky to have these feature.

Madhu Priya said...

Excellent work!! Wish Modi becomes the next prime minister!!

manish said...

every state of india should tech from gujarat

hats off to Mr. Modhe
he is the black pearl