City bridges underutilized

November 14, 2013


Himansshu Bhatt, TNN |


SURAT: Despite having adequate infrastructure in the form of 1800 km of roads and more than 70 bridges with six more in the pipeline, Surat has been under-utilizing the available facilities. To cater to transport needs of 46 lakh people, work on another 25 new bridges is going on and 25 more are in the planning stage.”Our biggest problem is that the infrastructure we create doesn’t funnel the growth in a manner it should,” said Dr NC Shah, an expert in urban infrastructure and director at CG Patel Institute of Technology at Maliba in Bardoli.

He said that ideally around 50 per cent of the people of Surat should be using the road and bridge infrastructure through public transport for its optimal use. “But, our public transport utilization is just one to two per cent,” said Dr Shah

“Surat is passing through a critical phase. Unlike Ahmedabad that has a history of public transport, Surat didn’t have anything when its civic body took over. But, now the plans are in place and we expect the shift of people from three wheel trips to public transport very quickly once quality and efficient services of Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) and the feeder services begin,” said Sivanand Swamyof Center for Environment Planning and Technology (CEPT) who played a major role in developing future public transport infrastructure in Surat.

At present nearly 17 lakh people travel in three wheel transport and another 10 lakh in four wheel or two wheel private transport. Surat will have effective public transport infrastructure of 100km of BRTS and another 100 km of city bus services that should take care of present requirements and cover more than 90 per cent of areas. BRTS work is likely to be completed by 2015 and that of city bus services by end of 2014.

“The problem is magnified at present because construction of road infrastructure and bridge infrastructure was planned ahead of setting up of public transport. Both developments have not taken place in unison and as a result we are seeing road and bridges available but no public transport. The situation will be different in two years,” said a senior official from SMC.

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