Friday, August 28, 2009

Changing the Game for BRT in India

EMBARQ's CityFix reports from India: "The new Janmarg BRT system, in the process of being completed in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, meets most of the highest standards applied internationally. It is already a “best practice” of BRT in South Asia, in sharp contrast to the bus corridors in operation in Delhi and Pune, which are off to a good start but still have much room for improvement."

Ahmedabad’s Janmarg: Changing the Game for BRT Systems in India

Click here for full August 27 article by Dario Hidalgo from CityFix:

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  1. Local newspaper item of Thursday, August 6 on this same subject: Source: www.

    Part 1:
    The Janmarg, a transport system for the people, appropriately represents the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) being implemented in Ahmedabad. It is a rapid transit system that envisages providing the people of the city with a fast, safe and reliable public transport system.

    The vision behind the planning of the BRTS is to see the city of Ahmedabad develop into a mega city, with every citizen having an equal opportunity or growth and development. The Janmarg is a system that makes Ahmedabad accessible to its people -- a way of affording as well-networked, comprehensive transport system to those thousands who do not own personalised vehicles.

    As you may have read before in DNA and other newspapers, the BRTS has differentelements such as the carriageway, stations, signal systems, passenger information and fare collection systems, buses, services etc, which have to function in a coordinated manner to be able to deliver high-quality service.

    While the strategic-level functions are decided by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), the tactical- and operational-level functions are conducted by the Ahmedabad Janmarg Ltd (AJL), a company fully owned by the AMC that was established as a special-purpose vehicle. The services are outsourced through public-private partnership arrangements and contract arrangements are being put in place to ensure that the system functions efficiently.

    Putting together a state-of-the-art transport system invariably faces a series of challenges. The first set of challenges we faced related to accommodating utilities underground while not compromising on the pavement standards.

    We decided to lay all utilities which can be shifted under the footpath and bicycle tracks so that in future we will not have to dig the BRTS and mixed traffic lanes. Pipes have been laid at every junction so that cables can be sent through them without digging up the road whenever necessary.

    Part 2:

    To develop the BRTS on the Naroda-Narol highway, we had to sign an agreement with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Convincing the NHAI to accept the proposal, which differed from the highway norms, was a challenge.

    The AMC, under the able leadership of the municipal commissioner, was able to convince the NHAI to accept the BRTS design and convince the forest department to denotify the stretch as a forest area.

    Choosing the bus was a long-drawn process. The matter was complicated by the fact that there are few bus manufacturers and their technology is limited to the production ofone or two models.

    With affordability in mind, a private operator was chosen through a competitive tender process to provide a diesel bus the running of which cost Rs34 per km.

    The BRTS buses are owned and operated by a private operator according to the schedules and standards set by the AJL. ITS and fare collection are managed by another firm under a service contract.

    Foot over-bridges are being built under a public-private partnership. Another private operator is in charge of landscaping along the corridor. The parking and advertisement policies and plans are being finalised. Parking is integrated with the system.

    It is important to note that the AMC's effort at putting the BRTS in place is a pioneering attempt. There are not many examples to adopt. Within a short span of two years, the system has been developed and is ready for operation. While the trials are under way, the people are being encouraged to use the services.

    The BRTS was planned keeping in mind the needs of the citizens of Ahmedabad and was built with the hard-earned money of the taxpayers. It is, therefore, a system that belongs to the people.

    Hence, the protection and maintenance of Janmarg property is our duty. Only then will the Janmarg be able to continue its services smoothly and we, the citizens of Ahmedabad, will be proud to be the owners of such a system. We seek your support.

    Deputy municipal commissioner and executive director, Ahmedabad Janmarg Ltd


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