Civic bodies asked to make buses safer, more comfortable

May 29, 2013

Manish Umbrajkar, TNN | 


PUNE: New buses that will be introduced on city roads will be safer, more comfortable for both passengers and drivers, and will be equipped with in-built ITS technology, if the municipal corporations of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad act on the recommendations of the union ministry of urban development. The ministry has recommended these features to 61 municipal corporations that come under JNNURM.

PMPML, the city public bus transport company has already procured 650 buses under JNNURM funding. However, officials say it plans to make a fresh proposal to procure additional buses that would conform with the new specifications.

Officials of the Pune-based Central Institute of Road Transport(CIRT), which was one of the institutions that made suggestions on urban bus specifications, said they took into account requirements of urban commuters while making them. Specifications have also been listed for Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) buses.

According to the report on urban bus specifications, buses plying within the city should also be made more attractive so as to encourage more people to use them. They should also be made accessible to people with physical, sensory and cognitive impairments, it states.

Prashant Kakade, coordinator of the management development centre and a specialist in traffic engineering solutions at CIRT says urban public transport is different from state transport and that make these urban bus specifications significant. In cities, a large number of people, including senior citizens, children, women and even those with physical impairments use public transport. “All these factors have been taken into account while drafting the specifications. For example, the width of the gangway is wider in urban bus specifications because the number of standing passengers is quite high,” he said. Another factor taken into consideration is the insistence on low floor buses to help senior citizens board the bus. For BRTS buses, level boarding facilities have been recommended.

The report lists specifications for various types of buses based on the city’s requirements. Besides specifications for standard size normal and BRTS buses, mini and midi buses, there are specifications for standard size premium segment, and intelligent transport systems. Kakade said that the specifications are compulsory for JNNURM buses, as there will be a third party inspection when the buses are delivered to the cities by suppliers. The third party inspection will be done by institutions such as CIRT and Automotive Research Association of India, he said.

The cost of travel in these buses would be more than in normal buses, but their performance would be better in terms of fuel efficiency and would be safer, more comfortable for passengers and drivers. Buses will be able to move at improved speed, while noise levels in the buses will be less, Kakade said. Instead of using metal which adds to the dead weight of the buses and affects speed, the buses would be made of fibre, he added.

Incidentally, PMPML has planned to install intelligent transport system requirements in the 650 BRTS buses it has already procured under JNNURM. The undertaking has recently called for offers from private contractors for installation of the ITS requirements. For BRTS operations, the buses have level boarding facility, officials said.

The high powered expert committee on urban infrastructure and the ministry of urban development has estimated that cities in India need about 1.5 lakh buses that would cost approximately Rs 60,000 crores in the next 20 years. The report further cites that only 20 of 85 cities with over 5 lakh population (in 2009) offered an organised city bus service. The recommendations of the working group on urban transport for 12th five year plan includes introduction of organized public transport in all two lakh plus population cities and state capitals, as one of its goals. The report asserts that city bus services have been the major mode of public transport, and this will continue.


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