MUMBAI: The civic body is planning to revive the much talked-about Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), which promises to ease congestion on city roads by using dedicated lanes to ferry commuters between destinations. In a meeting held last week between senior officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the BEST, it was decided that BRTS routes can be created on the Eastern Express Highway (EEH), the Western Express Highway (WEH), the Sion-Trombay Road and the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road.
TOI had reported about BRTS getting a fresh impetus in its February 20 edition.
The MMRDA has unsucessfully tried to implement the project in the past. The BMC will now form a panel to undertake site visits, carry out feasibility studies as well as survey the condition of and the encroachments on the chosen roads and highways.
Said a senior civic official, "The idea is to encourage more people to use public transport. For BRTS to be implemented, we need long and wide roads. The chosen routes meet this requirement. Also, studies show a lot of people travelling on these routes would like to have a dedicated public transport system as an alternative to private vehicles."
The BMC will have a pilot run of the system on the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road once it is widened.
BEST general manager Om Prakash Gupta said the project was still in the "discussion stage. "The project ownership will be primarily with the BMC. Our job is to operate the buses as soon as the project is approved and implemented," he said.
Times View: It may be difficult, not impossible
This is not the first time that a governmental agency has announced plans for BRTS in Mumbai. Ambitious plans were spelt out previously as well, only to be given a quiet burial soon after. In a congested city such as Mumbai, the idea of BRTS stumbles at the first step—namely, the creation of dedicated lanes. At the same time, it is not impossible to create infrastructure needed for BRTS in Mumbai. All it needs is coordination between various governmental bodies to draw up new traffic plans and, of course, dedicated lanes. The promise held out by BRTS—less pollution, less congestion and faster transport—seems worth it.