With better roads, buses, Delhi set for transport makeover

March 26th, 2008 - 1:13 pm ICT by admin  

By Rajeev Ranjan Roy
New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) Modern and comfortable buses, wider roads and solar powered bus shelters are in the offing in the Indian capital ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2010. The roads are being upgraded. New bus shelters are being put in place. As many as 1,600 out of 2,500 shelters will be illuminated with solar power, while over 1,000 of them will be equipped with water harvesting facilities.

“In terms of overall capacity building, Delhi is being prepared to cater to people’s basic needs for the next 25 years. The Commonwealth Games 2010 has proved a blessing in disguise for the city,” R. Narayanaswami, special advisor, Commonwealth Games 2010, Delhi government, told IANS in an interview.

The total fund allocation for Delhi’s transport sector in 2008-09 is Rs.29.33 billion.

At present, around 3,000 state-owned Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and around 4,000 private buses ferry an estimated 6.5 million passengers every day, while around 600,000 people use the metro daily.

Since the DTC fleet will go up to 10,000 with mostly low floor, compressed natural gas (CNG)-run, air-conditioned buses, rides will become a luxury when compared to the rough and tumble of journeys on private Bluelines.

Around 100 such buses are already plying on the city roads.

“Travelling in low-floor buses is quite comfortable because they ply smoothly. The only thing that needs to be done is to widen the roads. I am sure, like me, people will stop using cars. I now take the new bus to Connaught Place,” Pratibha Singh, a resident of the Saket area in south Delhi, told IANS.

The government intends to phase out all the existing buses. Even private operators will have to ply only low floor, CNG-run buses by forming a cooperative body. The government has already invited tenders for this.

The first dedicated corridor - known as the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system - is being readied from Ambedkar Nagar to Delhi Gate for operation from June. Each bus can seat 35 passengers, with legroom (space to stand) for 45 more.

It has been criticised on the grounds that it adversely affects the flow of traffic, but officials point out that the BRT system will have dedicated lanes for buses, cars, and other vehicles for smooth traffic flow.

The widening of roads will ensure that buses ply smoothly.

Some key routes, being widened and upgraded, are the inner and outer ring roads, the approaches leading to Geeta Colony Bridge, Azadpur Road in the north, and the north-south of the Shanti Path. All the arterial routes towards the Commonwealth Games Village in east Delhi, near Akshardham Temple, are being upgraded.

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