Friday, April 28, 2006

Metro, bus lanes can’t be together

Metro, bus lanes can’t be together
Only ORR Will Have Dedicated Space For Buses, Says BMTC
The Times of India

Bangalore: One road’s gain is another’s loss.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has firmly ruled out the longpending proposition of having dedicated bus lanes on city roads. The saving grace: Outer Ring Road (ORR) will have space earmarked as bus lanes, according to BMTC officials. Should this take off as planned in August, the ORR will then be the only road in Bangalore with dedicated bus lanes.

Just what went wrong in acquiescing to people’s requests of bus lanes, often touted as a panacea for alleviating road chaos?

BMTC officials explain that the traffic police have had reservations about earmarking prime space for buses. “We were told that roads are narrow and that dedicated bus lanes would eat up space, adding to traffic jams. That apart, most roads have left turns, so two-wheeler and fourwheeler commuters have to take an immediate left from any particular road. If that space is taken up by buses, it is impossible to re-align the remaining traffic,’’ they explain.

Yet another reason: “ We cannot have Metro Rail and dedicated bus lanes simultaneously,’’ declares BMTC MD Upendra Tripathy. “In the central business district areas at least it will clash, so having lanes for the moment is ruled out though it has been a pet project of the BMTC,’’ he says. In the past, the BMTC had plumped for bus lanes and implemented it on Bellary Road, right from Hebbal flyover up to Queen’s Road. The project, done on a pilot basis, lasted all of a month and then shelved.

The BDA, whose successful project the Outer Ring Road is, has apparently assured the BMTC that a new conceptual plan would be prepared and submitted, delineating space for buses.

Chief Traffic Manager (Operations) Dastagir Sharief rues that even during the pilot project, citizens had no self-restraint and used up the space meant for buses by steering their vehicles onto lanes. “To implement this compulsorily, at the ORR we plan to have physical barricades rather than just paint the roads. If ORR turns out to be a success, we can emulate it on Hosur Road, Whitefield and on the roads leading in and out of Bangalore city proper,’’ he explains.


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