Tuesday, April 22, 2008

fixing BRTS

Already, with a several million dollar destruction project lurking like an unacknowledged elephant in the room, the fingerpointing has begun. Who is to blame for the BRTS? Is nobody in charge? We need somebody in charge. A new committee! A new chairman! A new office! It would really be a lot of fun if I didn't rely on this route to get to Andhra Bhavan for the unlimited thali.

The latest "convoluted solution" according to CNN/IBN includes removing the Blueline buses from the corridor. I'm not sure that this makes any sense--surely since the centre lanes are virtually empty it would be better to push the Bluelines into them along with the fabled DTC "low floor, A/C buses". But I won't go into that.

In the meantime, they've decided to let taxis with yellow number plates use the (almost empty) center lanes. This makes no sense whatsoever. First of all, there aren't all that many taxis. Second, they are no better than cars in terms of environmental impact (or safety, or whatever). A much more sensible proposal would be to make the BRTS center lane available as a carpool lane--any vehicle allowed in provided it contains at least four passengers including the driver. This would alleviate some of the pressure on the two "slowspeed car lanes", and encourage people to share rides rather than take separate vehicles, thus reducing the number of cars on the road or simply rewarding those people with a smaller "carbon footprint." Fines for driving in the carpool lane with fewer than the required number of passengers should be set at Rs. 5000. I'm no expert on cops, bribery, etc. But perhaps it would work if all the fines were assessed by mail through the central office, and marshals were equipped with digital cameras to record the license numbers of offenders.

I know. I'm getting crazy here. Wait, maybe we could give them all Simputers! No, Nokia Communicators! No, laptops!

Maybe we should save everybody the headache and start ripping up the lane barriers again.

1 comment:

Perakath said...

And how would the 4-passenger rule be enforced?? You know quite well it can't be, over an extended stretch of time. Unless they set up permanent barricades with people paid to check the number of occupants.

You know what would happen? There'd be crowds of people waiting at the start of the bus lane. Cars would merely have to pick up 2 or 3 people from there, become eligible to use the bus lane, and disgorge those people at the end of the lane. A free shuttle service, with private cars instead of minibuses. Perhaps some enterprising taxi-wallahs would charge a nominal fee per person and simply tootle up and down the corridor!

The carpool-users-in-the-bus-lane system may be effective abroad, where bus lanes exist throughout cities, but in a city where only one corridor is so segregated, it hardly works as an incentive to carpool.

Besides, if the bus lane is opened up to any traffic besides buses, the planners are essentially admitting that cars need more road space. Then why go to the trouble of segregating in the first place?? The road was perfectly fine before this rubbish began. Various types of traffic coexist everywhere else in the city.

The philosophy behind the bus lane was-- make things convenient for bus users, screw everyone else. Diluting the lane segregation shows a paradigm shift. The government should make up its mind whether it wants to stick to its original philosophy or not, and if not, tear down those effing dividers.