Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, December 15
Former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal’s dream project Metro Bus, which is being run under the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), completed three years on Sunday.
The first phase of the project was inaugurated on December 15 in 2016. Though the service recently bagged ‘award of excellence’ under the category of ‘Best Urban Transit System’ by the Union Ministry of Urban Affairs, it did not get expected response initially. The service was re-launched by former Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu after the completion of track and stations in January this year.
At present, a total of 92 low-floor air-conditioned buses are bring run on the dedicated 31-km corridor, covering key locations of the city and catering an average of around 25,000 to 30,000 commuters per day. In January, free rides were announced for three months, which witnessed the ridership rise to up to 75,000 daily but after lapse of the scheme period, it it plunged to around 15,000 again.
Residents said it should be considered as failure of the government as the 550-crore project was providing service to only a few thousand people. Advocate Kuljit Singh said: “It is sad that the government is not answerable for the failure of such expensive projects. Instead of addressing traffic congestion on city roads, the BRTS has added to woes. City roads have become narrow with the implementation of the project. When the government offered free travel, the readership reached 70,000. It means that the high fare is the only issue. So, the government should revise the fare.”
Moreover, traffic experts claimed that the design of the BRTS corridor was faulty. Around 20 accidents were reported with the BRTS corridor and buses till date. A committee constituted by the state government had identified nine black spots on the 31-km BRTS corridor. A study Navdeep Asija, Traffic Advisor, Punjab, found that the faults in design and wrote to the Public Works Department to take appropriate action to prevent accidents.
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