CHENNAI: The Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) is likely to take off on the 10-km Radial Road between Chromepet and Thoraipakkam first, if the government gets a positive response during public consultations which is scheduled from Saturday, according to official sources. "Wherever the roads are already wide, it will be useful for BRTS. It could be successful in the Radial Road,’’ the sources said.
Interestingly, expansion of the Radial Road from four lanes to six lanes has been underway for a while now and is midway to completion. Public hearings will be conducted by Pallavan Transport Consultancy Services (PTCS) from August 3 to 8 in five localities of the city between 10 am and 5 pm and later, a fresh Detailed Project Report will be prepared.
Apart from Chromepet and Thoraipakkam stretch, the proposed 120-km dedicated bus lanes will pass through routes between Koyambedu and Poonamalle, Koyambedu and Ambattur, Koyambedu and Madhavaram, Koyambedu and Saidapet and Saidapet and Mahindra World City.
The design of the BRTS is that it could be called a ‘mini-Metro Rail’ as it shares similar features like the Metro. According to Global BRTS standard, apart from having dedicated routes, three key features are that the buses will be aligned to the median which means pavement level will align with that of the footboard. Secondly, ticket collection will be through automatic machines placed on the pavement.
Thirdly, BRT vehicles are fitted with traffic vehicle priority sensors at junctions and they would get preference to other modes of transport. Bus stands will be 500 metres apart. Experts believe the services of BRTS could rescue Chennai from its current state of traffic congestion.
“BRT retains the flexibility of buses which makes them the mode of choice for short-to-medium distances trips when compared with rail services that are better suited for long-distance trips on fixed corridors,’’ said Shreya Gadepalli, South Asia Programme Head of the Institute for Transport Development and Policy (ITDP). “Bus patronage has dropped precipitously in recent years due to inadequate investment into buses and poor service quality. Chennai needs more buses, better buses,’’ she added. BRT has been successfully implemented in India in Surat, Pune, Indore, Ahmedabad, Hubli, Dharwad and Rajkot among other cities.