For the residents of Pune, the wait for the 16-km BRTS stretch on Nagar Road and Alandi Road seems to be only getting longer. The civic administration says it does not want to take any chances vis-a-vis public safety on the route, and has been busy adding infrastructure.
“The infrastructure development work on the BRTS route is complete. Safety measures are being added before the service can be started. We hope to launch the service within a month,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Omprakash Bokaria.
He said the PMC delayed the implementation of the project as the focus was on ensuring safety of the commuters by making the stretch accident-free. “The safety audit carried out by experts of IIT Powai has recommended 46 points to ensure an accident-free BRTS. We have completed the required work and don’t want to keep any shortcomings in the infrastructure,” said Bokaria.
Additional City Engineer Vivek Kharwadkar said the PMC was installing sensors on the bus stops to ensure there is no gap between the platform and the bus. “The sensors would also be installed on the fleet of PMPML buses and the drivers will have to be trained for it. However, it is not our responsibility and will have to be done by the public transport service. It would be better to ask the PMPML officers to train its drivers,” he said.
A visit to the proposed BRTS route revealed that the infrastructure work was in place. The civic administration has put barricades to avoid private vehicles from using it. At one place in Yerawada, however, private vehicles could be seen parked on the road, while some other places looked like a garbage dump. On Nagar Road, PMC has undertaken the work to shift a bus stop as per recommendation in the safety audit report.
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Civic activist Satish Khot expressed dissatisfaction over the work done by the PMC on Nagar Road. “PMC has failed to provide necessary infrastructure for the residents likely to use BRTS. There is no proper facility for pedestrian crossing and also no place for the residents to park their vehicles before taking the BRTS route for their next destination. There is no place for an autorickshaw stand near the bus stop either,” he said.
Khot added: “They have merely spent the money received from the Union government. We want to know where the money has been spent. All the agencies, including PMC, PMPML and the traffic police, have to work together for effective implementation of the BRTS but they are instead trying to shift the onus on each other.” He said the PMC had failed to improve the pilot project on Satara Road and Solapur Road.