I shell out Rs 40 daily as against the AMTS’s Rs 12 on my route. But the speed makes up for this,” says Navin Shah, a daily commuter on Ahmedabad’s BRT system.
The fares, as Shah says, are about 30 per cent more than those charged by Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Services buses. But thanks to the convenience, 125,000 people use the BRT every day.
At present, it is spread over 67 km and has nine routes with 137 buses. When it is completed in 2015, the BRTS it will have 350 buses covering 115 km on 24 routes. And it will carry nearly 550,000 passengers every day, says Harshad Solanki, the BRTS Manager.
Christened ‘Janmarg’, the BRTS is estimated to cost Rs 1,500 crore. It is being funded by the Centre (35 per cent), the State Government (15 per cent) and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (50 per cent).
It has introduced smartcards and lifetime cards for daily commuters. Fares range between Rs 4 and Rs 24. Unlike the Delhi and Pune BRT systems, the Ahmedabad project envisages control rooms, IT infrastructure and exclusive buses.
Currently, many commuters find it difficult to reach the nearest BRTS station nor is there space for them to park their vehicles near stations.
This will be addressed through feeder transport from various points to the BRTS stations. “Without feeder transport, the full potential of BRTS cannot be realised,” says Reemaben Makwana, a college student.
By providing an easy and cheaper alternative to those using private vehicles, the BRTS is expected to reduce traffic congestion at important intersections.
Critics, however, say the project cost could exceed Rs 2,000 crore, not counting the cost of the buses.