Pune : Demand for removing BRTS lanes on Nagar Road grows higher 

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By: Pune Pulse

September 19, 2023

Pune: For residents of several areas of Nagar Road, the issue of BRTS lanes is growing day by day. As a result, the demand for the removal of BRTS lanes on Nagar Road is gaining momentum.

As per more information shared by Qaneez Sukhrani, a Pune Citizen Activist, the demand to scrap the BRTS lanes on Nagar Road is based on innumerable correspondence, about 10,000 documents received through RTI 2005 applications which were studied, and it was found that the Pune’s BRTS did not / does not conform to Global standards of BRTS. This BRTS was only set up to grab funds under the JURM scheme. It is a known fact that PMC pours Rs. 1 crore of public funds annually towards repairs & maintenance of bus shelters. From which angle do any of the bus shelters look repaired and maintained? This would be in addition to Rs. 1400 crores already poured into this system which is dead and cannot be resurrected.

Earlier during the previous Assembly session, Hon’ble Minister Uday Samant on behalf of Hon’ble CM had assured that a committee comprising of heads of all stakeholders would be set up to discuss and take an informed decision. This committee is still not set up nine months later.

Everyone must clear the doubts in their mind that PMPML should make the final decision. That is not correct. Land is owned by PMC and infrastructure was constructed by PMC. The PMC must make the final decision to scrap or not, along with the police who is the enforcement agency.

However, since PMC is not making an informed decision, they will have to give in to one politician or another. To appoint a consultant will be a costly affair when the decision is plain for all to see. Or face a law-and-order situation looking at both opposite views. 

Pune has a hybrid BRT system which has not conformed to Global Concepts and Standards, BRTS Pune did not conform to ITDP 2012 BRR Guidelines, nor IRC 2015 BRT Design Guidelines.

Nagar Road is not 60m edge-to-edge width to allow BRTS to perform successfully.

While a good BRTS must have 12/14 km uninterrupted running lengths, punctures on Nagar Road are at about 500m. What rapidity does it achieve?

In addition, Nagar Road does not have a consistent width/breadth of the road from Parnakutti to Wagholi as till date PMC has not bothered to acquire 15 locations along 7 km, according to the development plan, 1987.

Since 2020, Maha Metro has slowly demolished 4 bus shelters in the median, other bus shelters are in decrepit junk condition with parts stolen, squatters & beggars sleeping and running their whole life inside and systems not in working order. The corridors closed by Maha-Metro from Parnakutti to Shastri Nagar about 4 km are used to dump debris, excess material garbage, and park vehicles.

For the last six months, PMC has been removing railings/walls along the corridor. But it is to be noted that no corridor can be removed/dismantled in patches. This must be done fully. Otherwise, disjointed sections will lead to situational confusion, accidents and fatalities.

Some experts have raised an alarm stating that scrapping will mean condemning public transport altogether. The answer to them is simple. PMPML’s bus service will remain public transport whether it is run as BRTS in the median or conventional on the left side.

When the writing is clear, why has the Traffic Police, as enforcers of law and order, not yet sent a letter of recommendation to PMC to scrap the full Nagar Road BRTS?

Everyone must read the Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) 2018, especially section 9.

Further, some experts are opposed to scrapping the BRTS, shockingly stating that BRTS buses will be good feeders for Metro. PMPML may run small-size feeder buses, but the full-length buses for BRTS can never become feeders. If the issue was not serious, it could be termed as a joke.

Meanwhile PMPML has appointed ITDP to do an assessment which it completed in June 2023. This gives only a one-sided view of PMC BRTS Rainbow. Shockingly this too has made BRTS to be a feeder service to Metro.

PMPML buses themselves use the MV lanes on Nagar Road adding to the traffic congestion when three lanes of the BRTS corridor are idle. They weave in/out wherever the portions are blocked by Maha-Metro leading to hazardous conditions.

When the general public sees the MV lanes congested, but the BRTS corridors empty, they intrude into idle BRTS corridors, leading to head-on clashes, accidents, and deaths.

Several residents of Viman Nagar have raised serious concerns due to increasing traffic problems on Nagar Road, mainly because of BRTS lanes.

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On September 11, PMC Commissioner Vikram Kumar inspected the condition of Nagar Road BRTS & had instructed to conduct a detailed survey regarding the number of vehicles plying on Nagar Road after which a decision would be taken about the scrapping of Nagar Road BRTS.

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Qaneez Sukhrani further stated that they will make their demand once again clearly. If they do not get any response of action that will be within one week, they will seek redressal by the intervention of the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission as well as the Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority.

Shreyas Vange