Activists have criticised the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML)’s decision to install boom barriers at BRT bus stations. Activists and non-voluntary organisations have described the move as impractical.
“PMPML has decided to install automated boom barriers at BRT bus stations to prevent incursion of other vehicles in the BRT lane. The barriers will open only when a BRT bus approaches and close after the bus has passed. The proposal is being submitted to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for further action. Though it’s a fact that other vehicles enter the BRT lanes, we believe that automated boom barriers at BRT bus stations is not a practical sustainable solution,” said Prashant Inamdar, convenor of Pedestrians FIRST.
Inamdar said the automated boom barrier will need electric power. “The boom will become inoperative whenever there is power failure. If this happens when boom is down, the BRT lane will be blocked,” he said.
Pedestrians First said the automated system will operate efficiently only if various components of the system, like RFID tag on each bus, sensor on the boom, control system for the boom, boom operating mechanism, electrical wiring and cabling, as well as all mechanical items, are constantly in good working condition.
Another activist, Ravindra Asadhe, said all the components of the automated system have to function in an integrated manner for reliable operation of the boom each time a bus approaches. “Any malfunction could damage the boom barrier or block the path of A bus and the BRT lane,” he said.
Indamdar said what would be strictly needed is high quality equipment, excellent preventive maintenance and prompt repairs with least downtime in case of any fault. “Emergency power backup system IS also required as contingency in case of power failure,” he said.
Inamdar said the PMPML will be unable to maintain a large number of automated boom barrier systems at various bus stations. Inamdar said the PMPML failed in the past to maintain automated doors at BRT bus stations, which have an operating system similar to automated boom barriers. “The PMPML has consistently failed to maintain the doors properly since the day BRT corridors were commissioned. The doors frequently malfunction and are then kept permanently open, endangering lives of commuters,” Pedestrians First said in a statement.
Indamdar said there is a high probability that most of the boom barriers will have to be kept permanently open, defeating the very purpose of installation, and this would “waste public money”. “So, the PMC should reject and scrap this ill-conceived plan of boom barriers on BRT corridors.”