A study done by students and a faculty member from the Civil Engineering department of the Punjab Engineering College (PEC) has deemed the introduction of metro as the most unfeasible way of tackling the city’s growing traffic problem. The study also concluded that improving the existing bus system was the most feasible and affordable way of decreasing congestion on roads.
“Improving the existing bus system will need utilisation of existing resources. It will not cost much,” said Professor Har Amrit S Sandhu, under whom the study titled ‘Future Scope and Comparison of Various Mass Transportation Systems in Chandigarh’ was conducted over a period of five months.
“There had been talks about introducing metro and plans were submitted by the administration, but this will cost us crores of money when we don’t even need such a system yet,” said Sandhu.
The study calculates that introducing metro in Chandigarh will cost over Rs 300 crore per km, while improving the bus transport system will not cost much. It also calculates the cost of alternative mode of transports. The researchers calculated that introducing a Bus Rapid Transit system will cost about Rs 4 to 16 crore per kilometre and a Light Rail Transit or Monorail system will cost between Rs 100 to 250 crore per km.
“The cost of construction of metro, elevated or underground will roughly be Rs 14,000 crore. Metro is best suitable for cities where passengers traveling per hour in one direction is greater than 30,000, while in the case of Chandigarh, it rarely exceeds 8,000,” said the study.
The study states that as a hub of education, medical institutes and IT companies, Chandigarh has become more populous than ever. The registered vehicles increased from 25,667 in 2016 to 46,849 in 2018. Plans of expansion in suburbs such as towns of Naya Gaon and Mullanpur will only increase congestion on roads.
“Almost 81 per cent of people use personal vehicles.This is primarily due to the inconvenience and inefficiency of bus systems,” said the study. The researchers allege that most people rely on auto rickshaws and rickshaws instead of buses and even though there is a mobile app for the bus system by CTU, not many are aware of it. “We just need to improve the infrastructure of our buses, so that more people use it,” said Sandhu.
The study suggests developing a digital app “which includes real-time location of buses, nearest bus stop, routes and fare”. It also suggests improvement in the standing capacity in buses, to cater to a larger population.
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