Govt mulls separate bus corridor in Srinagar

Govt mulls separate bus corridor in SrinagarIn its endeavor to streamline the traffic system in Srinagar, the Government is mulling to construct separate bus corridors—the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS).
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a high-quality bus-based transit system that delivers fast, comfortable, and cost-effective services at metro-level capacities. It does this through the provision of dedicated lanes, with busways and iconic stations typically aligned to the center of the road, off-board fare collection, and fast and frequent operations
The plan has been envisaged by the Town Planning Organization (TPO) Kashmir in revised Master Plan 2015-35 of Srinagar. The two BRTS Corridors that have been proposed by the TPO in Srinagar includes East-West and North- South corridors. However, officials said for these corridors, the Right of Way (RoW) would be a challenge.
“The intended BRTS corridors between Ali Jan Road- 90 feet Road in Soura and Airport Road- Nowgam are practically difficult to be made ready for operating the low floor and high capacity buses. It is feared that BRTS would further congest the city,” experts said.
Pertinently, implementation of the ambitious BRTS would include hiring 2000 high capacity buses which according to the revised Master Plan is aimed to phase-out the mini buses from the city.
Sources said inclusion of the BRTS in the revised Master Plan has been opposed by Divisional Commissioner (Kashmir) Asgar Samoon and senior officials of the Transport Department.
The revised Master Plan envisions to connect 100 kms in Srinagar with help of BRTS while as Janmarg, the Ahmedabad-based BRTS, the one among few successful BRT systems, connects only 88 kms in Gujarat.
“BRTS has been a failure in cities such as Delhi and Pune due to lack of political will to implement this concept. After visiting Copenhagen to study this (BRTS) concept, even the former state transport commissioner had shown pessimism towards BRTS,” an official of Town Planning Organisation said.
Chief Town Planner, Iftikhar Ahmad Hakeem said formation of an implementing agency such as Unified Metropolitan Transportation Authority (UMTA) will make BRTS a reality in Srinagar.
He said the Intelligent Traffic system-based BRTS will streamline the present ineffective public transport system in the city. “The idea of transportation in Master Plan is not on road widening but efficient use of road space by developing the three-tier ring radial road network,” Hakeem said.
Highlighting the proposed BRTS, he said 60- 80 metre wide roads will have dedicated BRTS corridors while on inner ring roads, high capacity transport shall ply on a common lane.
“As of now the second phase of transportation is intended to introduce Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) and in the long run Light rail transit can also be introduced in the city. The plan of BRTS in Srinagar would also pave way for a separate transport for women while also making accessibility for Shaher-e-Khaas. The focus is to strengthen the public transport system,” Hakeem added.

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