BRTS works in fits and starts in most of its five routes, smooth road a long way ahead

Pune Newsline investigates the working of various BRTS routes in the city to see how they fare on different parameters.

By: Express News Service | Pune | Published: May 22, 2016 12:12:24 am
BRTS, pune, pune newsline, BRTS routes, pune ahmedabad corridor, pune police, nagar road, nagar road BRTS, BRT bus, PMPML, yerwada police station, indian express pune A car enters the BRTS dedicated corridor on Hadapsar Road on Saturday.

Since 2006, Pune has witnesses the good, bad and the ugly sides of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS). While the now-redundant first two phases had earned more brickbats than accolades, the newly inaugurated Pune-Ahmednagar corridor has been in the news the last few days because of numerous accidents. Pune Newsline investigates the working of various BRTS routes in the city to see how they fare on different parameters.

Sangamwadi-Vishrantwadi

Length: 8 km
Bus stands: 13
Quality: Old buses. Seats in disrepair
Announcement system, display boards working in some, not working in many
BRT Stops: Good condition. Manned by security guards
Cleanliness: Clean Stops. Buses dirty
Do private vehicles use the dedicated lane: No. Traffic wardens present

Although the Sangamwadi to Vishrantwadi BRTS route is very short, it is relatively well managed with a couple of guards deployed at every stop and wardens at the junction to stop other vehicles from entering the route. The roads are good but it is a task for the passengers to reach the BRT stop.

None of the stops had a working ticket counter and there are inadequate seats for the passengers waiting to board a bus. During peak hours, there is major congestion from the Vishrantwadi Depot and the buses don’t leave on time.

While some buses had functional announcement and display systems, in many these were missing.

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Sunil Shinde, a daily commuter on the Sangamwadi-Vishrantwadi route, said, “The service is better than the normal bus but during peak hours all the management breaks down. The passengers cause a ruckus while boarding and alighting and there is a lot of pushing around. A major concern is for the women and disabled who have to use the same doorway as other passengers.”

Swargate-Hadapsar

Length: 10.2 km
Bus stands: 16
Quality: Automated doors not functional, they remain open
No screens. No announcement system
BRT Stops: Good condition
Cleanliness: Buses are clean. Stops dirtyn Security guards: No

THE BRT corridor at Hadapsar starts from Shankarmat and ends at Fatimanagar, while the rest of the route does not have a dedicated BRT corridor. The ongoing construction of flyovers has disrupted the corridor at many places. According to frequent commuters, the frequency of BRTS buses is good. At most places, traffic wardens were not present at signals and crossings to prevent the entry of other vehicles (apart from BRT buses and emergency vehicles). Announcement system is not functional. No LED information boards inside the buses.

Anuj Ruchanbhaira, market researcher by profession and a resident of Warje-Malwadi, said, “Many times, the buses on this route are very crowded. More buses should be introduced to make the BRT travel more comfortable. The condition of the BRTS buses is good.” Third-year commerce student Shweta Waghmare said, “For two-three days, I am traveling by BRTS buses to class and the buses are very crowded. It would be good if the frequency of buses goes up.”

Bhosari-Hinjewadi

Length: 8 km
Bus stands: 15
Quality: Clean
Presence of Public Announcement System: Yes
BRT Stops: Good condition
Traffic wardens: Present

Operational since November 2015, the Bhosari-Hinjewadi route has eight km of dedicated track from Nashik Phata to Wakad corner. The track passes over the double decker flyover at Nashik Phata and the Pimple Saudagar area. As the route connects the IT hub of Hinjewadi to Bhosari, ridership on these buses is quite high. The buses plying on this route have automatic doors and an announcement system. There are some minor technical glitches like delay in docking and opening of the automatic doors but overall, the experience on the BRT track is good. Traffic wardens are stationed at each juncture who stop entry of non-BRT vehicles into the track.

Rahul Shinde, a regular commuter on the route, said it has made his commute to Hinjewadi easier. “I stay near Roseland Society and there is a bus stand right next to my home. The frequency of the buses on weekdays is good so I can easily reach the office. However, the docking system malfunctions at time and something needs to be done about it,” he said.

Sanghvi Phata – Kiwale

Length: 14 km
Bus stands: 21
Quality: Clean, POS functional, display boards working.
Presence of Public Announcement System: Yes
BRT Stops: Good condition
Traffic Warden: At certain locations

Operational since September 2015, the Sanghvi Phata-Kiwale route has had quite a few hiccups since its inception. The Aundh Hospital bus stop is yet to resume operation which makes people stand on the road, making them vulnerable to accidents. Also, the Jagtap Dairy and Dange chowk bus stops are dangerous due to the high traffic flow in the area.

Absence of traffic wardens at these junctions makes its difficult for commuters to access the bus stand. While there is minimal intrusion of non-BRT vehicles in the dedicated lanes, wardens are not seen at all the punctures.

Urmila Kanade, a resident of Pimpri-Chinchwad who travels everyday by BRT, said, “Earlier, it was very confusing about what bus to take and how to travel by this route but with time, I have learnt. The women’s seats are sometimes occupied by men and they don’t vacate them even after being asked. Since the bus is crowded, the conductor too ignores this.”

Ahmednagar Road

Length: 8 km
Bus stands: 13
Quality: Clean, POS functional, display boards working.
Presence of Public Announcement System: Working
Traffic Warden: Present.
BRT Stops: Good

The Rainbow BRT Nagar Road was supposed to be from Yerawada to Wagholi, but currently runs for 8 km up to Aple Ghar bus station. It has 25 bus routes, which service Wadgaon Sheri, Viman Nagar, Khulewadi, Shubham Society, Chandan Nagar and Kharadi. It provides connectivity to Pune Railway Station, PMC headquarters, Swargate, and Warje Malwadi. Five long distance routes to Sangvi Sandas, Karandigaon/Kendurgaon, Wade Bolhai, Markal and Wadegaon/ Kesnand now terminate at Wagholi Terminal and have connecting routes to these areas.

Of the four BRTS routes in Pune city and Pimpri-Chinchwad, the Nagar Road BRTS route has turned out to be the most troublesome for both commuters and officials. In the past seven days, as many as seven accidents have taken place on the route in which one pedestrian has been killed and one girl seriously injured. Before a bus moves from Yerawada chowk or Parankutti chowk, commuters can be seen making their way from the chaotic traffic and the huge crowd — most of them labourers — on the left side of the chowk to the BRTS bus stations. A traffic warden can be seen standing at the starting point, doing little to guide the commuters. There are at least 10 intersections, the biggest one being the Kharadi bypass. “Utter chaos prevails everyday at all these intersections,” says Kiran Bhosale, who regularly uses the service. On Friday, a trailer truck, which was plying closely to the BRTS track, ran into the BRTS railing early morning as the driver apparently did not notice the lowly railings. As the buses move back and forth, pedestrians can be seen sprinting across the tracks through the gaps created in the railings.

Prashant Inadmar of Pedestrians First says the Nagar Road BRTS suffers more from infrastructural deficiencies and less from operational defiencies. “The PMC, PMPML and traffic police have to work together to improve the intersections. Traffic islands, signals, dividers and proper markings need to be put up at there,” he said. Another activist, Qaneez Sukhrani, says, “Nagar Road BRTS is marred by encroachers on both sides. To have a good central system, the shoulders need to be in order. Tyre shops, vendors, hawkers, parking of commercial vehicles, ST and luxury buses on footpaths and side margins must stop. Otherwise, it will prevent safe access to BRT bus shelters to the median. The PMC needs to work together with the Traffic Police and RTO to remove these permanently.” The PMC has announced that it will provide footover bridges on the route. However, activists said, “FOBs for intermediate crossings is not a practical solution. Such grade separated pedestrian crossings are not user-friendly for all pedestrians and hence remain largely unused.”

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