Depots missing, so capital can’t buy more buses

July 30, 2014

Jayashree Nandi    New Delhi

DDA Delays Allotment Of Land

 Without public transport, Delhi may never be able to address its twin problems of air pollution and traffic congestion. But it has failed to meet its massive demand for buses simply because there aren’t enough depots.Millennium Park Bus Depot where 800 buses are parked will be moved in the wake of a high court order to relocate it from Yamuna riverbed. Meanwhile, Delhi Integrated MultiModal Transit System doesn’t have any parking space for 1,000 buses. Delhi Development Authority has not managed to allocate any land to them yet. After Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came to power, the government decided in January to move the 50-acre Millennium Park depot to secure the Yamuna riverbed.“It’s a catchment area for water which cannot be meddled with,“ chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had said. But now delay in providing adequate space for buses by DDA has irked a section of environmentalists. Their stand is contrary to other activists who have been pushing for the relocation of Millennium Depot.

Environmentalist Sunita Narain feels bus depots should be prioritized over other issues. “The Millennium Bus De pot should not be shifted. A bus depot is needed; adverse impacts on the riverbed can be mitigated,“ she said. DDA has identified three places in Rohini Sector 4, Karkardooma and Institute of Driving Training and Research in Sarai Kale Khan. But relocation has been taking very long.

DTC officials claim that developing infrastructure in these three newly-allotted areas will mean massive investment in terms of both money and time.

Meanwhile, DIMTS has not been able to procure 1,000 air conditioned and non-air conditioned cluster buses as DDA hasn’t allocated any land to them.

“They have been promising it but nothing has been handed to us even though buses should be a priority . It’s time we should start looking at multilevel parking options for buses.
Delhi should also pay attention to safe infrastructure for bus stops and traffic calming measures near them,“ an official from DIMTS said.

DDA claims it doesn’t have enough land for bus depots.
“Allocating land to DTC for relocating Millennium Depot is taking long as we have to change land use. As for more land for DIMTS, we can only look for small patches of land–not big ones,“ a senior DDA official said.

Anumita Roychowdhury of CSE’s Clean Air Programme said, “It’s a very serious problem. Delhi has to find a way to share depot space efficiently and develop infrastructure like some depots in Bangalore so that more buses can be accommodated in them. We also need to explore efficient parking structures,“ she said.

Maharashtra govt agencies float tenders for Bandra Versova Sea Link project

April 7, 2014

Manthan K Mehta,TNN |

MUMBAI: Maharashtra government agencies have floated tenders for Bandra Versova Sea Link(BVSL) and elevated corridor from Eastern Express Highway (EEH) to Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), besides inviting consultancy services to built terminal facilities for inland passenger water transport along the Eastern coast.A official from MSRDC said, “The Rs 4,300 crore BVSL project will be built over a period of five years. It will reduce travel time between South Mumbai and Versova by 45 minutes as motorist will have the option of avoiding the congested stretch on SV road and WEH.”

Another project which will help faster travel between Western and Eastern Suburbs is Rs 261 crore elevated corridor between EEH to BKC.

MMRDA official said, “It will cut down travel time be 30 minutes once this 2.5km long elevated corridor is ready in 36 months.”

MSRDC said passenger water transport on Eastern Coast will connect south Mumbai (Jamshedji Bunder) to Nerul via catamarans and hovercrafts.


Congestion Charging in India,the Government Initiative and the way forward – by Sachin Bhatia , CEO , Metro Infrasys P Ltd

March 28, 2014

Sachin BhatiaMetro Infrasys Pvt. Ltd. with its head office based in New Delhi is an innovative provider of IT enabled Electronic Systems for Modern Infrastructure, with an impressive track record, in collaborations with top concession companies and Infrastructure Developers in India. At Metro Infrasys, we are driven by the philosophy of dynamic engineering based on reliability. Metro Infrasys provides the best available customized solution in the field of Highway Systems , Urban Traffic and Transport Systems and Security Systems.

 Mr. Sachin Bhatia ; engineer by qualification has worked in more than 20 Tolling Projects comprising of more than 300 lanes for the last 10 years. 

The implementation of the first major ETC System at India’s largest and world’s 4th largest Delhi Gurgaon Toll Plaza on NH-8 is one of his achievements.

 Always on look out to develop new technologies for making the projects more innovative and advanced. He has recently launched a new system called FIAOS (Fraud and Internal Audit Online System) for checking the performance of the operator and AVC and also for checking any Closed Lane Violation.



 With congestion growing to unmanageable levels , the initiative as per the Press Release from the Ministry of Urban Transportation is right step in the direction.

      However in view of the political resistance that is expected against the same, it may be an idea to follow how it is done in the Italian Cities. In Italy, the government implements a restricted access in old city areas wherein using technology the local residents are only allowed in the Old Cities areas. The main concept is that while it is an access restriction, and if someone other than the original owners vehicle accesses the are there is a Penalty which work like a congestion charge, without really calling it a congestion charge. Also the access could be restricted during certain  times of the day , depending upon the need for decongestion.

 General Description of the Technical Solution and general Operation methodology

Every Vehicle (limited to a maximum number of vehicles per resident) which below to an owners living in the area is granted the access by issuing them a tag. The tag is mapped to the number plate of the vehicle as well. Any vehicle which does not have the tag is considered a violator, and the number plate of the get recorded and a photos is taken of the same.

The system logs into the State Registration database and accesses the records of the registration of the violating vehicle are accessed and a penalty is send to the address of the violator.

The system allows multiple points /modes of the payment and if the vehicle owner does not pay within a stipulated period it the vehicle is blacklisted as offender and impounded.

Press Release of Congestion Charges

The Ministry of Urban Development (MUD), with the objective of reduction of congestion traffic during peak hours, has written to the chief secretaries of states to introduce ‘congestion charge’ in cities.

The concept of congestion charge, although relatively unknown in India, has been effectively implemented in cities like London, New York, Milan and Singapore. Levying of this charge would mean that vehicles driven into congested areas of a city would have to pay an entry fee or heavy parking charges. The congestion charge would deter people from taking private vehicles to congested areas of cities and encourage them to use public transport. This would result in lesser number of vehicles on roads.

The letter written by MUD secretary Sudhir Krishna states: “Now-a-days mobility in our cities, either big or medium, is a huge challenge due to congestion during peak hours, which is mainly due to excessive use of private vehicles. There is a need to resolve the congestion issues urgently for improving mobility of the people.”

The problem of congestion may be partly resolved by adopting Transport Demand Management (TDM) strategies to ensure that the economic development of our cities is decoupled from excessive motorization by encouraging investments in sustainable transports like public transport, cycling and walking, the letter read.

Due to the demographic, business and archaeological compulsions in certain areas in the cities, de-congesting is a tough process, Krishna added in the letter.

The letter was sent along with case studies of London and Singapore, which show impressive results.

With the levying of the charge, traffic in Central London went down by about 21 per cent and the traffic speed went up by about 10 per cent.

The MUD’s letter suggested a manual permit/ coupon system, as was done in Singapore, when it first introduced congestion pricing.  London uses automatic number plate recognition cameras at entry sites around the core areas of the city to record the vehicles. Those incurring the charge then pay it online, through mobiles or at specific stores and those failing to pay the charge get fined, the MUD said.

There is a need to discourage use of private vehicles in the core areas of cities so that people can reach offices, workplaces and business centers in time.

This can be achieved by proper TDM and consequent levying of congestion charges on the vehicles entering the specified zone. The congestion pricing is premised on a basic concept — “charge a price in order to allocate a scarce resource to its most valuable use” the letter read.

CBD roads to stay good for 10 yrs

October 19, 2013


BANGALORE: The state cabinet on Thursday sanctioned Rs 78.8 crore to upgrade seven major roads in the central business district (CBD). TOI deconstructs the plan that seeks to facilitate smooth commute and redefine a vehicle user’s road experience.Road upgradation is part of the Tender Sure (Specification for Urban Road Execution) project, which sets high standards for laying and maintenance of roads. Of the 45 roads identified under the project, seven were given the go-ahead. The roads come with well-laid cycle tracks and enough space for pedestrians too. Hawking zones will also be marked out, depending on the width of the road.

The roads selected for upgradation are Cunningham Road, Mallya Hospital Road, Commissariat Road, St Mark’s Road, Residency Road, Richmond Road and Museum Road.


* Contractors to upgrade roads, take care of utilities like cables, pipelines

* Stringent measures to ensure work quality

* Independent authority to monitor road works

* Space for pedestrians, cyclists

* Road status to last for at least 10 years

Times View

It’s a grandiose plan: seven arterial city roads will be turned into showpiece streets. The cabinet has marked them out and set aside a huge sum for the project, and also placed the onus of maintenance on the contractor. These are roads which give Bangalore its reputation, so it’s imperative that they have enough space for the cyclist and pedestrian. While it’s good that the roads come with a guarantee of 10 years, it remains to be seen whether the plan will be followed up with solid action.

Mumbai’s Metro II project cancelled; Metro I and other Infra projects in deep trouble

September 3, 2013

Written by  Ajaz

Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan virtually confirmed on Friday that Mumbai’s Metro line 2 has been cancelled because of the ‘Build-Own-Operate-Transfer’ (BOT) model’s failure in metro projects and there are major disputes over Metro I project too.

“There are some disputes between the government and the developer Reliance Infra(R-Infra) in Metro 1 project too. The developer is asking for tariff hike so we are considering all options including taking over the metro project”, CM Prithviraj Chavan told a select group of reporters at his residence in Mumbai on Friday night. Speaking specifically about Mumbai’s infrastructure projects being hit by the economic slowdown, Chavan said “It is not easy to build infra projects in Mumbai the city is very dense, there are issues like litigation and that causes delays. These delays have resulted in huge cost escalation and now many problems have been created because of this.  The developer in Metro I project is asking for major hike in tariff and advertising rights etc. We are not sure how this will work out. One option is to go into arbitration and the other is to negotiate. If it gets worse, we may think of even taking over the Metro project. It is now clear that Mumbai’s Metro II project will now not happen.”

CM Chavan said “There has been a lot of talk of late about Mumbai’s infrastructure projects getting delayed. The problems are multi-fold. The latest is that we have received no bids for the Rs 9800 crore Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL). This is mainly because of the economic slow-down and the lack of confidence among private players.The falling rupee has hit all the players and the foreign partners of the developers are not sure about how things will pan out. The uncertainty about the Navi Mumbai international Airport Project is also responsible for this problem as developers think that if the airport does not come there will not be enough traffic on MTHL.

“Though Metro I project which will connect Mumbai’s Versova to Ghatkopar is 95% complete, the safety tests and some finishing work is still on. But the real issue is the fare structure. We are trying to work out some solution”, Chavan added

IEA Report Offers Prescription to Ease Urban Transit Congestion

August 19, 2013

A bus rapid transit line in Guangzhou, China.

 (Photograph by Greg Girard,  For National Geographic     Thomas K. Grose  \For National Geographic )

Bus Rapid Transit lanes in Guangzhou, China, have helped that city manage traffic congestion. A new IEA report rounds up strategies that cities around the world can use to increase energy  efficiency as urban populations grow and transit demand increases.  

City dwellers accustomed to regular traffic jams and road rage may shudder at the prospect of the world’s urban areas getting even more crowded.

Nonetheless, such growth is assured: The percentage of people living in cities is expected to reach 70 percent by 2050, and roadway occupancy levels could increase sixfold in some countries, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The energy needed to move all of those people around will double, the agency says in a report released Wednesday, and managing the negative environmental and economic effects of this growth could cost countries billions of dollars.

There is, however, another way forward. The IEA report, titled “A Tale of Renewed Cities,” recommends several proven strategies for enhancing the energy efficiency of metropolitan transport systems. Drawing from examples in more than 30 cities around the world, the report details a three-pronged approach to managing transit amid ever-growing urban populations.

“Avoid, Shift, and Improve”

Global transportation accounts for 20 percent of the world’s energy use, and 40 percent of that consumption occurs in cities. “The need for efficient, affordable, safe and high-capacity transport solutions will become more acute,” Maria van der Hoeven, IEA director, said at a press conference that was webcast live from the Paris office of the agency, which was created in 1974 to promote energy security. “Urgent steps to improve the efficiency of urban transport systems are needed not only for energy security reasons, but also to mitigate the numerous negative climate, noise, air pollution, congestion and economic impacts of rising urban transport volumes.”

The IEA report calls for incentives to reduce regular travel, increase use of non-motorized or mass transit, and boost the use of cleaner, energy-efficient vehicles. This “avoid, shift, and improve” strategy could, between now and 2050, help cities save at least $70 trillion because of reduced spending on petroleum, roadway infrastructure, and vehicles.

Walter Hook, director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), a New York think tank that promotes environmentally sustainable transportation, said the IEA report’s recommendations were similar to the ITDP’s. “We agree with the ‘avoid, switch, improve’ approach, also,” he said. While the $70 trillion savings figure might be somewhat “volatile,” Hook added, “if anybody knows the fuel ramifications [of urbanization] it would be the International Energy Agency, because of what they do.”

The IEA report highlights the fact that urban travel has become overly reliant on automobiles. In 2000, there were around 625 million passenger cars on the world’s roads; as of 2010, that number had grown to 850 million. The growth in car ownership has, according to the report, “led to significant shifts away from non-motorized transport and public-transport modes, even in dense areas.”

That trend is continuing. The IEA projects that the world’s stock of motorized vehicles will double by 2050, stoking roadway occupancy levels. Beyond the high economic costs of time spent not moving in traffic jams, the IEA said, the growing number of cars is negatively affecting the environment and the health and safety of city residents. For instance, the World Health Organization says that road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds. Overall, traffic mishaps cause 1.3 million deaths a year and cost more than $500 billion. (See related pictures:

Policies designed to help residents avoid inefficient travel include the promotion of telecommuting and carpooling, and construction of high-density, mixed-use developments that enable residents to live, work, and indulge in leisure pursuits in one area. The “shift” part of the strategy involves policies that promote affordable and efficient mass-transit systems, parking restrictions, congestion-zone charges, and dedicated lanes for buses and bicycles, all to encourage a switch away from private cars.

To improve the use of cars still on the road, the IEA argues for tougher fuel-economy standards, fiscal incentives to encourage greater use of hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles (EVs), and planning for EV charging stations.  (See related story

No Magic Bullets

The report, however, noted that while policies aimed at getting more fuel-efficient cars on roads can cut energy consumption and emissions, they’re not terribly effective when applied by themselves, because they can also encourage more travel and car ownership. “Consequently, it is preferable to pair ‘improve’ policies with ‘avoid’ and ‘shift’ measures to ensure that gains from vehicle and fuel improvements are not lost to increased motorized travel,” it said.

The IEA report largely takes a best-practices approach, and includes a large number of successful policies that have been implemented in cities ranging from Nashville to Shanghai to Lagos, Nigeria.

For example:

New York City introduced express bus services that within a year cut travel times by 11 minutes, which helped increase ridership.

Seoul reformed a bus system that had rewarded drivers who allowed overcrowded buses and drove recklessly. The improvements led to increased ridership, and faster and safer journeys.

Belgrade, Serbia, tripled its urban rail system’s passenger numbers within six months of a major overhaul of the network.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems, which use bus networks that are akin to light-rail systems but at a fraction of the cost, have proved to be big hits in cities such as Lagos, Buenos Aires, and Guangzhou, China.

Bus-only lanes have helped ease congestion in many cities, too, including Buenos Aires and Shanghai.

San Francisco implemented in 2011 a digital, real-time pilot parking management system to ease congestion. It’s being tested on 7,000 metered spaces. SFpark, as it’s called, tells motorists where parking is available, and uses demand-responsive pricing to cut demand in crowded areas.

The report also stressed that there are few one-size-fits-all solutions, and placed cities into four different categories—developing, sprawling, congested, and multi-modal—each requiring a different mix of remedies. What works in New York City would not necessarily work in Seoul, Didier Houssin, IEA director of sustainable technology policy, told the press conference.

How likely is it that the world’s city planners will heed the report’s recommendations? ITDP’s Hook said that the chances are good. “Most cities are moving in this direction anyway, though not necessarily for fuel reasons. Most do not want people to live in traffic-congested, air-polluted cities,” he said.

And even though too many fast-growing cities in India, China, and Africa are still headed the wrong way, toward the old car-oriented paradigm, Hook said, “some are trying to respond intelligently” by overhauling creaky mass-transit systems or building new, improved ones.




State urged to bring urban transport under Urban Development Department

August 19, 2013

‘This will facilitate integration of land use and transportation’


The Union Ministry of Urban Development has asked the State government to designate the Urban Development Department (UDD) as the nodal department for all urban transport-related matters.

The Ministry said no planned urbanisation could be successful without an effective and efficient urban transport system.

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), which caters to the public transport requirements of Bangalore, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), North Western KRTC and North Eastern KRTC come under the Transport Department.

In a recent communiqué to the Chief Secretary, Union Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna said the State UDD should also be responsible for planning land use for urban transport. Urban transport and planning should go together. However, in many States these two are segregated between the Transport Department and the UDD, he said. It had been well recognised that urban transport was the key for urban development as more than 70 per cent of the country’s GDP comes from cities.


Mr. Krishna said, “It is a matter of concern that despite this being one of the conditions of reforms at the State-level under the scheme for funding of buses for urban transport under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and in spite of issuing two advisories from the Ministry to chief secretaries of all States and Union Territories earlier, only a few States — Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan — have brought urban transport under one nodal department, i.e., urban development department.”

Designating the UDD as the nodal department for urban transport was necessary for the integration of land use and transport plans as envisaged in the National Urban Transport Plan, Mr. Krishna said. With this, urban transport remains as an integral part of urban planning at all levels and cities could be planned in a holistic manner, he said.

Responding to this, a senior Transport Department official said the department would have no objection to the move. The government had to take the decision, he said.

Mr. Krishna said failure to comply with the advisory, however, would not attract any penalty. There were about 30 conditions for funding under the JNNURM. Some of them are mandatory and some, including a single agency for urban planning and transport, are desirable. Karnataka, at least, had a Directorate of Urban Land Transport to plan for urban transport under the UDD, he said.

Officials told to use LEDs

August 16, 2013

DC |


Visakhapatnam: Principal Secretary of Municipal Administration & Urban Development Dr Sailendra Kumar Joshi suggested that GVMC officials prepare a proposal on comprehensive transport system for the future traffic needs of the city.

He advised officials to replace existing street lights with LEDs as it would cut down 50 per cent of the expenditure.

He held a review meeting with officials here on Saturday. When officials told him that they would prepare a plan for eight BRTS corridors in and around the city with an estimated expenditure of Rs 2,200 crore, Joshi advised them to prepare the plan covering all areas of the corporation.



Road plans good only on paper: High court

August 14, 2013

Rosy Sequeira, TNN |

MUMBAI: Trying to cover up for its shoddy job so far, the BMC on Tuesday told the Bombay high court that it is working towards utility mapping and coordinated placement of underground cables to ensure conditions of roads did not suffer in future.

The BMC explained its proposals to the HC, which took a suo motu cognizance of potholed stretches in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai. “Your paperwork is good but results are not there,” the HC told the civic body.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Tuesday told Bombay High Court that it is working towards utility mapping and coordinated placement of under ground utilities to provide for good roads in future for Mumbai.

Highways leading to Mumbai were excellent but one realizes “you have entered the municipal limits by looking at the condition of the roads”, a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha observed. “All of us want proper roads. Property prices are so high, people cannot afford to buy flats in south Mumbai. They stay far away and commute the distance. Roads are the arteries of a city. If you give good roads, people don’t mind staying 50km away,” said Justice Shah, adding that good roads cut down , adding that smooth roads and good connectivity can cut down on commute time.

Defending the civic body, municipal commissioner Sitaram Kumar claimed that indiscriminate digging of roads to lay underground cables for services such as phone, water, gas, electricity and petroleum led to potholes. “We have 1,941 km roads in Mumbai and every year, we have to allow digging of 400-450km, either to lay cables or repair them,” he said. When the judges asked if the ducts could be laid in such a way that roads did not have to be dug up every time service providers had to work on cables, Kunte said they had come up with two measures that might solve the problem-utility mapping and coordinated placement of utility cables. “We are working on a road map. Once we get our hand on the utility problem it will be an enduring solution,” said Kunte. The judges asked what civic bodies across the world did to maintain roads. “There is coordinated placement of utilities. Whichever city manages utilities properly, has cut down on digging,” said Kunte.

The civic chief said tenders were awarded, as mentioned by the Standard Technical Advisory Committee rules, only to the lowest bidder, meeting all criteria. “Your paperwork is good but results are not there,” Justice Shah riposted, questioning if the BMC could pay contractors over five years, settling only 20% of the cost per year so that the shoddy firms could be exposed. “The contractors will have to hike prices but you are assured of quality,” said Justice Shah.

The judges also questioned why all agencies, such as MSRDC and MMRDA, could not jointly award road contracts. But MMRDA commissioner U P S Madan said the agencies worked under individual boards and the BMC under the Standing Committee. The judges also questioned why all the agencies, such as MSRDC and MMRDA, could not jointly award road contracts. But MMRDA commissioner U P S Madan said it was difficult as state agencies worked under individual boards and the standing committee approved BMC contracts. MMRDA’s additional metropolitan commissioner Ashwini Bhide said the BMC maintained 85% roads, while the state agency had absolutely new roads. The size of tender packages was another reason why the MMRDA attracted bigger players and could construct quality roads, she said.

While urban development department state principal secretary Shrikant Singh blamed improper draining of water for asphalt stretches not stabilizing, Advocate General Darius Khambata said there was no agreement on the technology to surface different roads.

The HC added Mira-Bhayander and Vasai-Virar civic bodies as party to the case and directed the BMC, TMC and NMMC to submit their action plans at the next hearing on September 5.

He added that the city had been undergoing transformation and the constant installation of waterlines, sewerage, Metro and Monorail utilities, natural gas and IT worsened the road condition.

He said utilities is a major problem and there is a move towards a master plan for it in future including ducting and other methods.



Maharashtra may approach Centre, World Bank over Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link project

August 14, 2013

Clara Lewis, TNN |


MUMBAI: The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is considering four options for constructing the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) after the latest round of bidding failed to elicit interest from construction firms.


The MTHL is a 22-km sea link between Nhava and Sewri that will connect Mumbai to the hinterland and offer a quick getaway to Pune, Nashik and Goa.


The four options under consideration include a direct cash contract wherein the government foots the bill; the developer constructs the sea link and is paid back in annual installments; taking up the project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) where the Centre will bear 35% of the cost, the state government 15% and the implementing agency (MMRDA) will bear 50% of the cost; and approaching either the World Bank or the Japan International Cooperation Agency for a loan on the lines of the loan for the Mumbai Urban Transport Project.


Senior MMRDA officials said within a month the proposals will be placed before chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who also heads MMRDA.


The project was proposed in the 70s. However, the first serious attempt to build the bridge was made in 2008 but it fell through because of a dispute between the Ambani brothers. For the third time the government failed to get any bids for the bridge.


The project was to be developed on a build-operate-transfer basis in which the developer was to quote a price with interest, which he would recover in 35 years after building the link over five years. To address some of its financial risks, the Union finance ministry has sanctioned viability-gap funding to the tune of Rs 1,920 crore for the project.


A source said one of the reasons that no bid was made for the project was the uncertainty over the proposed international airport in Panvel. “If the airport does not take off then the projected 60,000 vehicles traversing the bridge daily will also not happen which makes the project will become unviable,” said a source.


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