Bringing speed to bus rides
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Around the world, bus rapid transit systems (BRTS) have become a key element in urban transportation, usually in combination with metros. Ahmedabad's BRTS completed its first anniversary on October 14, 2010, and the initial results are very encouraging. With a fleet of 45 buses covering a route stretching 34 km, about 85,000 passengers use the system every day. The BRTS is expected to cover a total of 84 km — 58 km in Phase 1, to be completed by March 2011, and 26 km in Phase 2, to be completed by December 2011. An additional elevated corridor of 4 km may take a little longer, because of the need to get clearances from the Archaeological Survey of India.
The rapid growth of Ahmedabad during the last decade brought with it the usual problems. There was a tremendous strain on the public transport system of the city. The presence of many more private vehicles caused a major deterioration in air quality and noise pollution. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) responded to this challenge in 2005 by designing an integrated transit plan for the city, with a multi-modal strategy that included a metro system, a regional rail system, the BRTS, and the regular bus system. They set an objective of increasing the share of public transport from an abysmally low 7 per cent in 2005 to 40 per cent by 2015.
The Government of India's Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), launched in 2005-06, provided the city with funds for delivering India's first full BRTS. Of the total cost of Rs 1,000 crore, half came from the JNNURM and the other half from the AMC. The JNNURM portion was split into 35 per cent from the Government of India and 15 per cent from the government of Gujarat.
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