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A passenger-friendly bus system for Delhi

Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar


NEW DELHI: Along with about 50 lakh people with disability and reduced mobility, lakhs of normal commuters and school children will also stand to benefit from a slew of design changes that are being suggested for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Delhi. To make this High Capacity Bus System (HCBS) passenger-friendly, nine changes have been suggested which would make access to and from buses easy and encourage people to leave their personal vehicles and take to the system in a big way.

On the lines of Curutiba in Brazil and Bogota in Columbia where such systems ferry over 60 per cent of the travelling public, in Delhi too efforts are being made now to ensure that the bus system changes the way people travel on the roads. Sanjeev Sachdev of Samarthya Centre for Promotion of Barrier Free Environment for Disabled People, which has done an access audit for the ultra low floor buses, said the design considerations of the system have been studied and certain design specifications are now needed. Noting that Samarthya had attended the first consultative workshop on HCBS two years ago, he said involvement of user groups was essential to make the system user-friendly.

"We have suggested that all buses and bus shelters be 380 mm high to allow easy access into the vehicles and the bus shelters be located 300 to 500 metres of each other so that people do not have to travel long distances by other modes.''

Anjali Aggarwal of Samarthya said the nine specifications seek to make travel by these buses safe and comfortable for all users. On the lines of the presentations made by international experts at a workshop on BRT systems organised at the Indian Institute of Technology here, she said it had been suggested that auditory signals be placed at traffic intersections for the visually impaired, there be kerb cuts near the intersections and ramps for easy movement from the road to the pavement and vice-versa.

Tiles and textural clues like the kind which have been put on the Delhi Metro system have also been suggested along with Braille signs on steel plates near the sitting arrangement of the bus shelters. At the bus shelters, dynamic display of information about the buses, routes and fares has been called for and it has been suggested that all the shelters be bright and in two-colour contrast like red and yellow for better visibility.

Then in the bus shelters space has been suggested for two wheelchairs for protection to the users from rain and sun. Also, some priority seats would be kept aside for senior citizens, persons with reduced mobility and disabled persons.

Since the bus shelters would be located on the median and would be accessible through the zebra crossings at the intersections, alignment of street infrastructure has been suggested so that there is no obstruction by means of various barriers.

In the buses, manual ramps that can be operated by users have been suggested in place of the hydraulic ramps that can develop faults.

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