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Need to tap potential of BRTS service

Need to tap potential of BRTS service

A view of a BRTS bus in Amritsar on Monday. Photo: Sunil Kumar



Tribune News Service

Charanjit Singh Teja

Amritsar, March 20

After MLA Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh raised questions in Punjab Assembly, viability of the Metro bus service being run under the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) has again become a matter of debate. The BRTS authorities claim that an average of 37,000 passengers use this service daily and a major section of the service class now regularly uses the Metro bus to commute.

“It proves that the project has been successful. The Metro bus needed the government’s attention for the improvement of service. In case the project is stopped, around 20,000 two-wheelers will be added to the city roads which would increase traffic congestion. Instead of stopping the service, the government should address the issue,” said a Metro bus officer.

During the Budget session of Punjab assembly, MLA North Kuwar Vijay Partap claimed that the BRTS is a flop show. The Minister for Local Bodies responded to the MLA saying that as compared to BRTS Jaipur and Lucknow, BRTS in Amritsar was doing well.

Local NGOs and activists have also been regularly demanding that the Metro bus route should include the international airport at Rajasansi.

In August 2021, the administration had started the Metro bus service from Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport to Gheo Mandi Chowk near the Golden Temple. The bus route was suspended two weeks after the start, due to demonstration by private mini-bus operators. Activists repeatedly wrote to the authorities to resume the route.

“The Metro bus service has great potential. It is being ignored by the government. The ridership can be enhanced up to 80,000 by plying it on all routes. The government had spent Rs 550 crore on the project. Now, the buses are not being properly maintained. The route screens and announcement systems are lying defunct. No other traffic should be allowed on the BRTS tracks. The state government should release special funds for the repair and maintenance of existing infrastructure, instead of stopping the service,” said Naveen Kumar, a regular BRTS passenger.

“It is the safest mode of available public transport for women. More than 50 per cent women passengers are using this service. The government should not think about the profit but only the service,” said Simaranjeet Kaur, another passenger.

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