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This paper forms a part of our Economics of Development course, a core course under Master of Arts in Development curriculum. The urban transport sector is undergoing a major revolution in India in this time of rapid urbanisation. A well-connected andÂ efficient urban transport network is essential for the city's economic development. Through the paper, we look atÂ one of the proposed alternatives to this problem, namely the Bus Rapid Transit System, through two case studies one being of its implementation in Ahmedabad city and the other in Pune city.Â The objective of the paper is to get an insight into how BRTS has had both positive and negative impacts on the transport system, looking at the cities and an analysis of the same.
The present work is an outline of the secondary data using the various studies conducted by various agencies to check the efficiency of BRTS as a transport system in India. The reason for choosing this problem of development is mainly because it is one of the major issues most developing countries face due to increasing population in the urban areas. Moreover, transportation is the basic backbone of any well-functioning and efficient economy.
We hope that this endeavour will facilitate any further studies on the BRTS as a sustainable urban transport system.
Divya Nazareth (MAD12022)
R. Sridhar Rao (MAD12088)
Sonakshi Anand (MAD12085)
Sangita M. Palod (MAD12069)
This paper would not have been possible without the guidance of many our Faculty Team. We acknowledge the help and guidance of Prof. Chiranjib Sen and Prof. Vikas Kumar at the Azim Premji University, for their insights, suggestions, and guidelines to carry out this study. Prof. Chiranjib Sen has been very kind to give us his precious time and help us with the structure and to understand the problem we needed to address through the paper.
This study is qualitative in nature. It comprises solely of secondary research, mainly because our case studies where distant from Bangalore making difficult for us to collect primary data. For secondary data, the study has referred to many documents including various reports and studies conducted of the efficiency of BRTS, websites and newspaper articles.
What is BRTS?â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.â€¦â€¦..â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..7
The Ahmedabad BRTS Experience-Case Iâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.10
The Pune BRTS Experience-Case IIâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦17
Sustainability in Transport Systemâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..24
Cities in developing countries have become the major engines of growth. However, this growth has rarely been met with large-scale efforts to make cities more efficient, inclusive and competitive. India's urban transport system has not been able to keep pace with the increasing demand for the provision of public transport facility by its residents. Increase in urban population and suburban locales in cities have been continuously fuelling this demand. In 2001, there were 285 million Indians living in urban areas and this figure is expected to increase to 540 million people by 2021. Another interesting phenomenon is constantly increasing number of metropolitan cities and their population (Kumara 2009). With the expanding peripheries of cities, and specifically in metropolitans' people are forced to travel longer distances and the public transport system is expected to expand and cover these peripheries to meet these needs. Metropolitan cities such as Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Hyderabad are today witnessing a rapid expansion of their peripheries. Thus the sharply increasing levels of motor vehicle ownership and use, in particular, have resulted in alarming levels of congestion, air pollution, noise, and traffic danger. This has created a challenging task for the city planners and urban transport development authorities to develop a comprehensive and multi-model, cost effective, efficient and sustainable means of public transport to carry high volumes of passengers through dense, congested urban areas.
Source: Developing Bus Rapid Transit System in India" by Madhuri Jain, Arti Saxena, Preetvanti Singh and P.K Saxena, p.3
To cater to the increasing demand for public transport systems, governments have invested in local rail services, metros and bus services. The cities of Mumbai and Kolkata are located in the peninsular regions of the country and therefore cannot expand their road transport networks (Pucher, Korattyswaroopam and Ittyerah 2004). Hence local trains are invested in and are widely popular as means of public transport. Whereas in cities like Delhi and Chennai that face no such geographic restrictions, the bus services are reaching out to the peripheries. But more number of people that rely on public transport, commute by buses (Ibid). Taking the factors of capacity, comfort and speed into account, buses are a preferred choice. But the problems plaguing bus transport in almost all cities in India are congestion on roads, pollution, limited networks, cost efficiency and safety (Jaiswal, et al. 2012). With more people preferring to own their own vehicles, the traffic on the roads has increased making it difficult for buses to operate. With a variety of vehicles such as personal transport, buses and bullock carts occupying the streets, traffic woes and congestion further worsen. This results in increased costs and time which discourage people from travelling in buses. All these contribute to the air and noise pollution in cities. Limited bus routes have not only made commuting a nightmare for citizens but also led to overcrowded buses which have resulted in a number of accidents which has become a cause of great concern. There are approximately 80,000 deaths that take place in India annually due to mishaps on the road (Jain, et al. n.d.).
Another important factor that has been responsible for inefficient bus services in the countries are the low cost recovery rates. A considerable size of the urban population lives below the poverty line, hence bus fares have been kept low for their convenience. But this has resulted in limited revenues for the government to fund maintenance, repairs and replacement of buses (Pucher, Korattyswaroopam and Ittyerah 2004). However, the bus system in Bangalore has been able to cover its cost a 100% and also make a 5% profit (Pucher, Korattyswaroopam and Ittyerah 2004). Other cities like Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai have been able to cover 92%, 80% and 72% of their costs respectively. Kolkata, has been least profitable with a meagre 42% cost recovery rate (Ibid). These issues with the public transport system stress on the urgent need for a sustainable transport system, one which focuses on a safe and environment friendly mode of transport that provides citizens accessibility and mobility within cities (Krishnan, Sharma and Jaiswal 2012). The Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) are increasingly being recognized as amongst most effective solution for providing a cost effective and high quality public transport service in urban areas for both the developed and the developing world. It aims at providing ecologically sustainable and cost effective bus services with better facilities, comfort and speed than that of an ordinary bus line. It involves coordinated improvements in a transit system's infrastructure, equipment, operations, and technology that give preferential treatment to buses on urban roadways (Krishnan, Sharma and Jaiswal 2012).
What is Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS)?
A BRTS is designed to give priority to buses through dedicated bus lanes and, at the same time, provide dedicated lanes for pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles. It provides an unimpeded right of way to buses, increasing their efficiency and reducing the time taken for travel. It combines the speed, reliability and amenities of rail-based rapid transit systems with the flexibility of buses. It is a high-capacity transport system which is implemented by using buses through infrastructure planning and scheduling improvements that would help in providing better services to the population. It involves expensive investments along with modern technologies that include newer ways of ticketing, bus scheduling and traffic signal priority. Hence, to encapsulate BRTS is a system of integrating modern technology with an applicable service design along with a customer interface.
Characteristics of BRTS
Physically isolated bus ways: A separate lane which is exclusively kept side for the buses plying by BRTS. This allows for a greater speed and lesser congestion of buses and absolutely no traffic.
It has been said that BRTS is a relatively cheaper mode of transportation and can be implemented more widely than other transport systems. The cost percentages are lesser, about 10â€20 per cent of that of light rail and 1â€10 per cent of the Metro (Jaiswal 2012). This is because it can be tailored to the requirements of the public by increasing the frequency of buses and the number of bus stops.
The gestation time for BRTS is relatively short. The duration of construction for 18 km of the BRTS track is expected to take one to three years and in the case of metropolitan cities it is expected to take three to five years, which is shorter than that of developing metros in urban cities (Jaiswal 2012).
BRTS is on 'at grade level' as it involves the construction of comfortable and efficient high station platforms and shelter that caters to the needs of the disabled.
Advanced Traveller Information System (ATIS) and Automatic tracking of buses.
In BRTS commuters can only cross at the zebra crossings, thus this will help bring down fatality rates drastically.
It can be modified as per local preferences and culture, population density, distribution of trips, climate, geography, topography, available financial resources, local technical capacity and knowledge, existing business and institutional structures.
Figure 3: Characteristics of BRTS
Source: "Developing Bus Rapid Transit System in India" by Madhuri Jain, Arti Saxena, Preetvanti Singh, and P.K Saxena, p.9
The History of BRTS
BRTS is primarily a Latin American innovation. The TransMilenio system in Bogotá (Colombia) started its operations in 2001 and led the way for more than 30 cities in both developing and developed countries to implement efficient public transport systems. Mayor Peñasola, a strong leader and a leading town planner, was chiefly responsible for the success of BRTS in Bogotá. While Bogotá has provided an example worthy of emulation across the world, today BRTS is run along different business models (India 2012) .
The concept of BRTS is being promoted by the New York-based Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP). BRTS has been increasingly adopted in the Asian countries since 2004. BRTS is currently under construction in 18 cities and under consideration in 5 cities in Asia (Kumara 2009). In India, under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) that aims to boost and reform development in the field of urban public transport, the BRTS was launched in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Vishakhapatnam, Pune, Indore, Jaipur and Bhopal. Moreover, recently in 2012, BRTS has been proposed in fourteen more cities (Asia BRTS meet ends 2012).
The Ahmedabad BRTS Experience- Case I
Started in October 2009, the Ahmedabad BRTS - known as Janmarg- is among the most successful solutions to the problem of inefficient urban public transportation in India. For this successful implementation, the city received numerous awards:
National Award for "Best Mass Transit Rapid System Project - 2009" from Government of India.
International Award for "Sustainable Transport Award - 2010" at Washington DC, USA.
International Award for "Outstanding Innovations in Public Transportation - 2010" from UITP, Germany.
National Award for "Best Innovation Project Towards Improvement in Urban Mobility in the City of Ahmedabad through New Technological Innovations in Janmarg BRTS - 2010" from Government of India.
International Award for Design - "Daring Ambition Award and Knowledge and Research Award - 2011" at 59th UITP World Congress, Dubai.
National Award for "Award for Excellence in the category of Best ITS Project - 2011" from Government of India.
Recently it was also highlighted as a 'lighthouse project' as part of the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Momentum for Change Initiative at the Doha round of negotiations held in November this year.
Ahmedabad is the largest city in Gujarat, and the seventh largest metropolitan area in India (Census 2011). Historically, it has been a city known for its thriving business communities. Given the new economic opportunities post liberalization, and rapid industrial growth of India, and in particular Gujarat, the city has been expanding rapidly in recent years in population.
Population of Ahmedabad Metropolitan Area.
Geographically, it is a compact city characterised by a great mixture of residential and business areas which seem to blend into each other. It is characterized by a few areas having high density of population, a few well developed areas. It also consists of a balanced street network system with well-developed 5 ring roads and 17 radial roads. Total road length is about 2400 km. There are 7 bridges that span across the magnificent Sabarmati river to connect the eastern part of the city with west. The city also has two prominent railway stations - Ahmedabad City Station and Maninagar station.
History of City's Transport System
From the early 1940's, there have been local buses plying through the city. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) had a company under it, called Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) that ran and operated buses. It was reasonably efficiently managed. However, due to a variety of reasons, the bus fleet could not be expanded and meet the demands of the growing population. For example, from 1995 to 2005, the number of vehicles in the city jumped from 0.51 million to 1.2 million. The per capita statistics would make this supply gap even starker. In 1990, Ahmedabad had 110 vehicles per 1000 people, in 2002, it became 280 vehicles per 1000 people. Vehicles here would include bicycles. Thus, it was abundantly clear that there was a massive supply gap in public transport.
In 2005, taking cognizance of this supply gap and taking the financial constraints of the Ahmedabad Corporation into consideration, it was decided to allow private players to become part of the public transport system, along with the existing AMTC buses.
Total Bus Fleet
As can be seen clearly from the table, the decision to allow privatize did increase the total strength of the public transport system. However, the critical problems remained unsolved.
Most of the traffic is dominated by two wheelers, and three wheelers. According to the household survey conducted by the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology in 2006 (NIUA, 2011), 8 lakh bicycles ply on the city streets accounting for up to 19% of the total trips and the city has 22 lakh registered vehicles of which two wheelers are about 73%. There are comparatively fewer 4 wheelers, accounting for about 12.5% (Kumara, 2009). There are more than 35,000 three wheelers. Several of them use adulterated fuels, leading to air pollution. It was the most polluted city in the country in 2003, according to a list prepared by the Central Pollution Control Board (NIUA, 2011). A shift to CNG fuels in 2005 improved the situation to an extent.
What this means in real terms is relatively simple. More number of vehicles on the same amount of roads implies more congestion on the streets. Under such congestions, a policy to improve public transport by merely increasing bus fleet will not solve any problems.
Keeping this in mind, the Gujarat state government, as part of its plans to develop Ahmedabad as a Mega City, approached Center for Environmental Planning and Technology University (CEPT) to plan a BRTS model for the city in 2005. It had also declared 2005 as the 'Sheheri Vikas Varsh', the year of urban development. The central government too came up with JNNURM in 2005. The Ahmedabad BRTS plan was approved in 2006, and work began at earnest. According to Prof. H.M. Shivanand Swamy, Professor and Associate Director of CEPT, Janmarg is modelled on Bogota, the capital of Colombia and BRTS of Curitiba of Brazil, and they have learnt from the mistakes committed by Delhi and Pune in implementing dedicated bus corridors.
The plan consisted of the following:
BRT Trunk Routes.
Complementary Routes (AMTS).
BRT Feeder Routes.
Ahmedabad Janmarg Limited (AJL) the nodal company that governs the BRTS operations in the city, was constituted as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) and Government of Gujarat. The project is part of the urban mobility plan devised by the Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB). The plan was to construct BRTS bus lanes on specific, high intensity routes, and improve connectivity to and from the BRTS bus stations on these routes. The important aspect was to make the regular AMTS bus services complement the BRTS, to maximize the effectiveness and reduce redundancy. Well-functioning features of the project like median corridors, customized buses enabled with dual-side access, state-of-the-art BRT stations and Intelligent Transportation System combined to make Janmarg a successful solution to increasing congestion in the city. The Ahmedabad BRTS project is funded under the JNNURM of the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India. The Government of India, Government of Gujarat and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation respectively shoulder 35, 15 and 50 per cent of the project costs.
Figure 4: Ahmedabad BRTS
Fleet Strength of 250 buses envisaged to be provided during phase-1 and phase-2 of operations covering 90 km through 3- 4 operators. Phase 1 consisted of the constructing BRTS lanes on the main ring roads and interior of the city. Phase 2 consisted of linking some of the key out-lying areas to this network.
The pilot corridor of Ahmedabad BRTS was started on 14 October, 2009, with a 12.5 km long corridor and 20 stations. Currently, a total length of 84 km of road has been built and being used for the BRTS. The construction started with widening the arterial and ring roads to 40m and 60m width, with the middle 10m being demarcated for the BRTS buses. Under the public-private partnership (PPP) model, the ownership, operations and maintenance of BRT buses is the responsibility of private service providers. The buses are run by 4 private operators, and the system and network being managed by the AJL. Currently, there are over 90 buses plying under this system. As can be easily seen, this BRTS system was not limited to public travelling to industrial areas alone. The network was wide spread across the city, including some poorer, densely populated residential areas.
Impact on Transport Infrastructure and Citizens
There has been a tremendous increase in travel speed for other vehicles on the roads, due to a separate lane for the buses. Thus, BRTS has reduced congestion. In fact, on the various corridors the BRTS operates in, the average speed has increased by an average of 6 kmph, which is substantial.
The high frequency of buses, with buses every 2 minutes in peak hours has made this a very dependable system.
There has been a dip in the number of road fatalities and road accidents.
A substantial increase of 6% in the number of bus users, with a corresponding reduction in number of 2 wheelers and share-autos.
A policy of 'Connect busy places but avoid busy roads' ensured least hassles during the construction phase.
As per survey conducted by AJL in 2009, people claim to be saving nearly 70 per cent in time and 50 per cent in travel cost by taking the BRTS.
Nearly 15% of Ahmedabad's two-wheeler users now make use of BRTS services, which is a great step towards reducing GHG emissions.
Thus Ahmedabad BRTS has brought a range of social, economic and environmental benefits to the residents of the city by contributing extensively in reducing travel time, the cost of travel, and the need to use private vehicles for everyday commuting. It has resulted in enhanced revenue generation, quality of life, and improved economic opportunities for the people who can now easily travel to far-flung parts of the city.
Currently Janmarg is operational over 45 km corridor network in the city, with 90 buses and carries about 1,35,000 lakh passengers every day. Its daily income is around Rs 7,70,000 lakh. According to Prof Swamy, Janmarg earns a revenue of Rs 10,000 per bus per day and pay Rs 8500 to bus operators at a rate of Rs 36 per km. Including others operation costs like ticketing, maintenance, etc. there is a shortfall of 10%-15% of revenue as compared to cost. But once the capacity will be fully realised, the system is expected to achieve higher passenger rate and thereby, Janmarg can recover the shortfall. With an average operating speed of 27 km per hour, it presents one of the fastest public transport systems in India. It has substantially contributed in controlling pollution, which was one of the major objectives. Five years of operation and its tangible positive impact have provided ample evidence to suggest the suitability of Ahmedabad BRTS as a best practice in urban transport management.
Analysing Success Story
The question that arises is how did they do it? According to I.P.Gautam, Commissioner of AMC, besides affordability, consultation before implementation and flexible design suitable for local conditions were also responsible for its success.
They tried a feedback system from the most important stake holders, the citizens. For the first three months, AMC ran BRTS free; it picked up special opinion makers-students, professors and teachers, journalists, top industrialists of Gujarat-and gave them free rides to seek suggestions. Most were used. As said by Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner I.P. Gautam,"We gave the people a sense of ownership."
Janmarg has effectively used modern technology like Global Positioning System (GPS)-enabled facility, a passenger information system (PIS) and closed bus shelters with electronic ticketing at the bus-stops. It has deployed state of art IntelligentÂ Transit Management System (ITMS). ITMS automatesÂ functions like electronic fare collection,Â automated vehicle location system, passengerÂ information system, vehicle scheduling andÂ despatch, incident management system andÂ depot management system. The most innovative electronic docking system using RFID technique has also been installed.
The basic layout of the lanes and the design of bus stands have been very user friendly.
The broad roads of Ahmedabad have also helped.
As ticket pricing is very important, BRTS fare is designed on the basis of the travel pattern so that most of the commuters can reach their destination paying less than Rs 5.
Most importantly, its political will and stability in the government that has been a deciding factor, as no amount of funds and planning can bring success, if implementation is not hindrance free.
The Pune BRTS Experience-Case II
The city of Pune was the first in India to experiment with a BRTS. Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) started plying pilot routes in December 2006. The project consisted of 16.5 km of bus lanes along the Katraj-Swargate road using air-conditioned, low-floor Volvo B7RLE buses. The urban development department had approved Rs. 476 crore funds for 10 phase I routes and central government had sanctioned Rs. 98 crore for initial phase under JNNURM. In total Rs 1000 crore was approved 'in principle' for the entire project, including phase II. The entire BRTS was to cover the distance of 117 km. 52 km stretch was planned in first phase and rest in second. It was decided that dedicated bus lanes will be provided only on those roads where the width was more than 30 m and buses would move with mixed traffic on all other routes. Thus, only 45 per cent of the total BRTS routes proposed was to have dedicated lanes. Bids from construction companies were invited for completion of BRTS to cover 12 PMPML routes. Political parties begun opposing BRTS routes saying it would result in chaos. Few were of an opinion that Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) should first complete the pilot corridor and make it successful and later experiment on other roads. The BRTS pilot project was launched on December 3, 2006 and 5 air-conditioned Volvo buses were flagged off on the 6.5 km Katraj-Swargate stretch. But only few days after the inauguration, because of series of accidents on the route the project was criticized severely. The hasty implementation became an election issue and the ruling Congress lost power in the PMC.
Drawing lessons from the poor results of the pilot BRTS projects on Satara Road and Solapur Road under JNNURM, the PMC is taking care to avoid any lapse this time. In May this year, the civic body announced four new BRTS corridors in the city to connect four corners of the city. These four routes are Warje- Kharadi via Jungli Maharaj Road, Paud Phata-Vishrantwadi, Dhayari-Hadapsar and Katraj-Kalewadi. In the first phase, the PMC and the PMPML have identified new bus stops on the dedicated routes and the work of constructing the bus stops and passenger platforms has started on Vishrantwadi Road. The corridor cost has now risen to Rs. 123 crore. Very few problems have been corrected since operations have begun. Segregation infrastructure is complete in only for 3 kms of the pilot corridor. Due to lack of continuous segregation, enforcement and user education, general traffic does not respect the separate BRTS lane. Bus stop circulation for passengers is difficult due to the presence of obstacles (seats, columns) and narrow sections. Passengers are required to step down the platforms to reach the pedestrian walkways at the intersection. Level boarding has not been achieved as buses do not dock at close distance to the platforms. As a result there is high inconvenience to the passengers that need to walk down the platforms to walk up the bus entrances.
Now PMC is considering Ahmedabad model for the implementation of the BRTS on 27 roads and form a separate entity for the project execution keeping PMPML out of the picture. For the same an official visit to Ahmedabad was arranged by the ruling, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to study the success of Ahmedabad BRTS. This visit included the Mayor, deputy Mayor, all party leaders in PMC, Standing and City Improvement Committee chairman, the Municipal Commissioner, city engineer and additional city engineers. PMC is also consulting Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), the US-based non-governmental non-profit organization providing technical assistance to cities and local advocacy groups on sustainable transportation development
The Pune metropolitan region is comprised of two municipal corporations-Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) had also announced BRTS project in December 2008, eight routes covering 112 km were proposed. 90% of construction work on an 11km pilot route betweenÂ NigdiÂ andÂ DapodiÂ had been completed, but in September 2009 it was announced that, although most work had been completed, difficulties procuring the 650 buses required to run on the system had led to the project being indefinitely postponed. The cost of the project had overrun by 230 crore, which around 50% of the total project cost. Thus, both the municipal corporations (PMC and PCMC) had started with separate BRTS in their city, but planning without any coordination between the two municipal corporations have eventually lead to problems and confusion for commuters. For example, different height of platforms of the bus, difference in the design of bus-shelters, that is to say, If PCMC BRTS provide for boarding facilities from either sides (for buses having doors on both sides) and If the same bus travels to Pune, and if there is no provision for boarding facilities on both sides of the bus-shelter in Pune, then this may lead to confusion for the commuters. Shreya Gadepalli, senior programme director of TheÂ Institute for Transportation and Development PolicyÂ (ITDP) (theÂ US-basedÂ non-governmentalÂ non-profit organization providing technical assistance to cities and local advocacy groups onÂ sustainable transportationÂ development) said, the PMC and PCMC have to collectively take a decision on the BRTS. However, there has to be a separate unit of capable staff to manage the BRTS effectively. A total BRTS network has to be planned for the city, instead of having one or two corridors in isolation.
The reason to include BRTS by PCMC as part of study is to give comprehensive idea about the reasons for failure and suggest way forward. Also, as the objective of BRTS is to simplify urban transport and increase the convenience for the citizens, it is important that civic authorities and politicians realize that for people of Pune or Pimpri-Chinchwad, they are no longer two separate cities. So, any transport initiative, which does not connect them well, is sure to be a failure.
Reasons for Failure of Pune BRTS
The PMC took initiative in implementing BRTS, but its implementation has created a poor first impression. The services were rolled out without proper planning or alertness to the problems of implementation.Â The PMC has allegedly not adhered to the guidelines laid out by the IIT Delhi, which in its advisory capacity had made several recommendations. PMC had not engaged a project consultant to liaison with IIT Delhi. It is very clearly evident that work on the BRTS had begun without micro-planning or a Detailed Project Report; devoid of traffic and transport experience, the city had simply rolled out the idea and rushed headlong into predictable failure. This was topped with many operational problems. The number of vehicles allotted to the BRT pilot has also been inadequate. The traffic police could not adequately enforce the dedicated lanes for the buses, and encroachment on to the paths by other vehicles. A dedicated cell or body of experts is recommended for the successful implementation of the project, but in case of Pune, such a cell came into existence only after 4 years from the launch of the project and its failure. The cell was to be established and be functional from 2007, but got delayed due to disagreements between PMC and PMPML. Officers clashed over duties and roles of the person who would handle the cell. Even the civic administration authorities have admitted that the project started without a detailed project report that should have covered elements like reserved lanes, off-board ticketing, an intelligent transport survey, integration with other modes of transport, routes and fares, depots, buses and financial, managerial and operational structure to run the system.
According to Prashant Inamdar, a civic activist who obtained several details of the BRTS under the Right to Information Act, "no sanctity or seriousness had been put to work. The selection of the corridor was wrong - being part of state highways, there's already congestion of heavy vehicles from other cities. No detailed traffic survey had been carried out, which is a pre-requisite for success. No comprehensive thought was given to the inter-connecting feeder service either, in the absence of which a commuter would think twice before using the BRTs buses." Similar reaction also came from Sujit Patwardhan, whose well-respected NGO, Pune's Traffic and Transportation Forum (PTTF) has been campaigning for enhancing a mass public transport system to discourage the usage of private vehicles. He insisted that quick frequency of good-looking buses would lure the citizens to accept this mode of transport, but the PMC instead bought just five buses, so the impact quotient was very less. Since citizen perception is the key element to the success of this story, the lack of willingness to make it work by the PMC may result in this good alternative failing." Lack of willingness is very evident in the case of Pune. P G Patankar, a senior traffic transportation expert, rejected the whole idea of a BRT for Pune. He had said, "How can Bus Rapid Transit apply to a congested city like Pune? If it has worked in South America it is because the density of population is lower compared to our cities, and roads there are as wide as our expressways so you can have dedicated bus lanes without disrupting other traffic. It would be better to increase the efficiency and frequency of the present PMT fleet. That would not require a dedicated lane - a luxury for our congested cities. What we require is point-to-point buses at higher frequencies. The BRTS experiment is sure to fail."
Thus to conclude, failure of Pune BRTS can be majorly attributed to:
Lack of detailed planning and implementation.
One reason that we feel is the selection of pilot project corridor could have been an issue, as Katraj-Swargate route is very busy and it again coincides with nation highway.
No level boarding, due to mismatch in bus stop heights and bus design, lack of drivers' training.
No enforcement of the corridors and corridors being discontinuous at many places.
Lack of facilities for pedestrians.
Most importantly lack of political will.
Figure 6: Pune BRTS
Picture: A bus plying on the BRT track on the Hadapsar-Swargate-Katraj corridor has pedestrians and non-BRT traffic encroaching on its track.
Having studied both, success of Ahmedabad BRTS and reasons for failure of Pune BRTS, it is very evident that poor planning and implementation, along with lack of strong political will are the main reasons for the failure of the later. Below given table explains the main difference between both the projects.
Comparative Summary of Pune and Ahmedabad
Type of System
Open corridor, side median
Exclusive corridor central median bus stops
Almost not study
System Run By
Ahmedabad Janmarg Ltd.
BRTS Lane Maintenance
Ahmedabad Janmarg Ltd.
Work Commenced in year
Total Cost (Rs. Lakhs)
Available, fully functional
2 min. in peak hours
10 min in off peak hours
On bus stops
Available at full length
Available at some portion of
Use of Technology
Involvement of Citizens
Attitude of civic authorities- absolute buy-in for the concept from administrative and political system within state and AMC has primarily contributed to the success, as against this in Pune, we could see lack of political willingness for the project and unwillingness of the various institutions and authorities involved for co-operation. To summarize with what Prof. Swamy believes, good leadership, good ownership and partnership are the key to a successful BRTS.
Sustainability in Transport System
In today's time, not just rapid means of transport, but sustainable means of transport are needed. Sustainability in transport can be brought about by reducing the number of private vehicles and thus restraining motorization, reduced GHG emissions, proper structuring of the routes for fast and efficient commute, reduced dust pollution, traffic congestion, by developing more efficient travel mode, strong and optimized public transport, social benefit of increasing the mobility, enhancing walking and cycling, improved maintenance of vehicles on road, and better traffic management and route choice. Lot many conditions for sustainable transport are satisfied by a well-planned and implemented BRTS.
The big challenge for developing countries like India is to keep a balanced transport mix that provides adequate accessibility for people and goods. Ahmedabad's experience shows that BRTS can address the urban immobility and emission problem if the system reduces total travel time and provides reliable and comfortable services at low costs. Failure of Pune BRTS is a clear indication of need for better urban planning by taking into confidence all the stakeholders.