February 10, 2009 1:09:00 am
The recommendations of the expert on Bus Rapid Transit project,who was invited by Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) last week to assess the BRT corridor in the city,will be sent to the Delhi government.
A civil engineer from Columbia and formerly associated with the successful BRT project in Bogota,Colombia,Dario Hidalgo had said the 5.8 km corridor was meeting its key objective of reducing travel time of bus commuters. He had also recommended that the authorities upgrade the services and reduce signal timings on the stretch.
The CSEs Animita Roychowdhary said: His recommendations will be sent to the Delhi government.
She said for one week Hidalgo carried out an assessment of the corridor in consultation with agencies like IIT Delhi,DTC and the Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System Ltd,involved in the construction and operation of the project.
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Hidalgo holds a Ph.D in Transportation Planning from the Ohio State University and was associated with TRANSMILENIO S.A. At present,he is working with EMBARQ,a team of transport engineers and environmental scientists,based in Washington. He has been involved with BRT projects in China,Argentina,Mexico,Chile,Ghana and Thailand.
In 2004,when the government was still planning the BRT,known as the High Capacity Bus Service (HCBS) then,Hidalgo had visited the city with former Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa and met officials of the Delhi government.
Recently,in his blog on EMBARQ,he had supported the BRT project in Delhi,after the Parliamentary Standing Committee recommended that the project be abandoned.
Hidalgo had also attended the National Conference on JNNURM and Urban Mobility India held in the city in December last year. He had presented a paper on the PPP model of Transmileno in Bogota in the conference. He had also visited Pune with former bureaucrat O P Aggarwal in February 2008,and discussed BRT project with government officials. Incidentally,Aggarwal was on the committee formed by the Delhi government to find means of sustainable transport in the city. While the report was submitted in 2002,HCBS was one of the recommendations of the committee.
Meanwhile,CSE director Sunita Narain has been supporting the BRT project,calling it a step in the right direction after the backlash against it in April 2008. The organisation had also done a survey of the corridor with a television channel in July 2008,where they found that bus commuters overwhelmingly supported the BRT project.
Narain,with former government official Bhure Lal,is also member of the Environment and Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA),which has been appointed by the Supreme Court to monitor the implementation of BRT.
After partially opening the corridor in April 2008,the Delhi government is still getting flak for traffic woes at prominent intersections like the Chirag Dilli junction along the 5.8 km stretch between Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand.
The second phase of the 14.2 km stretch will have bus stands and a dedicated bus corridor on the extreme left of the road.
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