Ideas and Action for a Better India
A Bus Rapid Transportation System (BRTS) is widely recognized as a cost-effective and environment-friendly means of public transportation. A large number of metropolises around the world have either adopted it, or are planning its adoption. With increasing congestion and travel times, equitable use of road space and the importance of timely mobility ought to drive public policy on urban transportation. If Mumbai wants to be recognized as a ‘world-class city’, it needs to focus more on improving the quality and quantity of its public transport.
Mumbai has been discussing a BRTS for almost ten years now! Initial efforts for a Bus Rapid System for Mumbai started around 2001, since when there have been numerous visits by experts and administrators (including former mayor of Bogota – Mr. Enrique Penelosa, transport planning expert – Mr. Dario Hidalgo, and noted Indian transport experts like Prof. Dinesh Mohan, Prof. Geetam Tiwari and Prof. Shivanand Swami) who have successfully implemented BRT systems. There have also been a number of public forums held and various committees formed under the government to discuss and debate BRTS for Mumbai. Despite all these efforts, there has been no progress and a BRTS solution for Mumbai is still pending. Furthermore, it is not clear what is stopping us taking forward this important initiative.
While policymakers in Mumbai are still stuck discussing BRTS, Ahmedabad has already added 24.5 kms of fully functioning BRTS lanes and will soon reach a total of 88 kms! Delhi’s BRTS system, after a few initial problems, has been welcomed by its bus commuters. Jaipur, Surat and many other cities are in their detailed engineering-design stages.
To identify and understand the key hurdles and to generate forward looking debate in favour of BRTS, the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Mumbai and Embarq jointly organized a half-day Roundtable discussion on ‘BRTS for Mumbai – Why we must…how we can!’ on Tuesday, 2nd March 2010. The purpose of this meeting was to pinpoint the roadblocks to development of a BRTS for Mumbai and to draw up a roadmap for the future to ensure its successful implementation. The ORF Roundtable was aimed at bringing together transport analysts and experts, committed activists and relevant government officials (e.g. from MMRDA) to discuss the progress so far, and to pave the way ahead. The effort formed part of ORF’s wider mission to improve public transportation in Mumbai.
ORF Mumbai will be releasing a report containing the key findings and recommendations from the Roundtable as well as research and analysis of BRTS from around the world. For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
DNA India – Putting BRTS and Mumbai’s commuters in the fast lane
(3 March 2010)
Indian Express – BRTS project may start by year-end: Officials
(7 February 2007)
BRTS – India – Mumbai (Author: Shoeb Hakim)
Mumbai Matters (Author: unknown)