New Delhi: The Centre has asked cities implementing metro rail projects to also focus on Bus Rapid Transit Systems (BRTS) to enhance regional connectivity in urban agglomerations and help decentralize population growth.
The Union Urban Development Department (UDD), in a recent communique to the state governments, has said that irrespective of their metro project plans, cities have to implement BRTS. It has also said that the Centre would conduct a survey of existent BRTS projects that have been implemented with the assistance of the Centre, before it launches the second phase of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Mission (JNNURM) and releases funds.
The UDD instruction to state representatives to prepare a detailed report on the implementation of BRTS was made following the Urban Mobility India Conference and Expo 2013 held in New Delhi earlier this week. The UDD has emphasized upon transit-oriented development of cities as an integral part of urban planning and has highlighted a requirement of mixed use development of urban transport centres, which essentially comprises development of residential, commercial, entertainment and other civic facilities within the vicinity of main public transport centres. According to the Centre, this would help provide ease of access to major facilities to the people and promote use of mass transit systems.
“UDD minister Kamal Nath has stressed upon the role of cities as engines of growth which will further create the urgency to address mobility issues and a need to create modern cities that are receptive to innovation in the field of mobility,” said a state government official.
The Centre’s endorsement for the BRTS comes at a time when elected representatives across political parties in Pune are upping the ante against BRTS and demanding to scrap the project even as transport experts have endorsed the Centre’s insistence on this mode of transport. Enrique Penalosa, president Institute for Transportation and Development Policies (ITDP), speaking in the New Delhi conference said that BRTS is a cheaper solution than the metro system to solve mass mobility problems. He added that many big cities in the world such as Paris having metro systems are now also adopting BRTS as an effective mode of urban transportation.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Rajya Sabha member Vandana Chavan echoed views of Penalosa and said, “BRTS is the best option cities can have to overcome traffic problem. The local governing bodies have to implement the project in a systematic way. BRTS is going to play a vital role to connect Pune metropolitan region.”