Residents of Pimpri-Chinchwad finally have something to cheer as the much-delayed Nigdi-Dapodi Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) is set to become operational in a week’s time. On Monday, both PCMC and PMPML officials said they were all set to launch the services on the highway stretch in the PCMC jurisdiction.
After the Bombay High Court gave the green signal to PCMC to start the BRTS on August 12, PCMC was supposed to launch the services in a couple of days. However, following the death of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee the launch was postponed. But PCMC officials are still not sure about the exact launch date. PMPML Chairperson and Managing Director Naina Gunde said they were giving final touches to the door-related work of buses, which will run on the Dapodi-Nigdi route. “We are ready to launch the service this week,” she said.
BJP Pimpri-Chinchwad president Laxman Jagtap said in a week’s time, the BRTS service should become operational. “It could be either this week or next week,” said Jagtap. As to whether the service will be free initially, Jagtap said PCMC and PMPML should take that decision. PCMC officials said the PMPML can take such a decision. Gunde said no such proposal had come before her.
The Nigdi-Dapodi BRTS is 13-km long on the Bombay-Pune highway. However, for two-and-a-half km, at Pimpri and Kasarwadi, the route has not been laid to accommodate Metro work. “Otherwise, the BRTS is in place,” said PCMC’s BRTS in-charge Vijay Bhojne. Bhojne said they plan to run 276 buses on the route or 2,200 trips daily. Some of the destinations include Nigdi to PMC headquarters, Pune station, Hadapsar, Katraj, Warje Malwadi, Upper Indira Nagar, Wagholi, Kothrud. There are 36 bus stations on the route managed by Intelligent Traffic Management System.
Importantly, Bhojne said, everyone to three minutes, a bus will be available for the commuters. “State transport buses will not be allowed to run on the BRTS route as their doors open on the left side. The doors of our buses will open on the right side,”
The BRTS route on the Pune-Mumbai highway has been delayed for nearly six years. The route was constructed five years back but ran into hurdles after activists raised security concerns and pointed out design “faults”. The activists had approached the Bombay High Court.
In 2014, some social activists had filed a PIL alleging that PCMC was not following the requisite safety measures while starting the new BRT service. The High Court had stayed the project. PCMC then appointed IIT-B to conduct a safety audit of the corridor. IIT-B submitted a report making some suggestions to ensure safety.