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One big mess, one big jam

Staff Reporter

Colossal chaos and confusion mar Day Two of BRT trial run in the Capital

– PHOTO: ANU PUSHKARNA

YOU ARE HERE: The state of affairs in the “Bus Rapid Transit Corridor” in the Capital on Monday.

NEW DELHI: A rude shock awaited Delhiites who happened to take the Ambedkar Nagar-Moolchand Hospital stretch of the controversial new Bus Rapid Transit corridor in the Capital on the second day of its trial run on Monday with utter chaos and clutter crippling traffic flow to a snail’s pace.

On an average it took over 30 minutes to cross the 5.8-km corridor in the middle of the road with vehicles brazenly flouting lane discipline despite all efforts by the police and traffic personnel to guide them to their designated lanes. Stalling of a loaded three-wheeler auto-rickshaw and a bus made matters even worse for the road users.

Pedestrians dodging traffic to reach the bus bays situated at the centre was a common sight. Lane-shifting two-wheelers and three-wheelers added to the overall chaos and several newly installed traffic signals were also found non-functional. The situation deteriorated further by evening, forcing police personnel to allow cars and other vehicles on the bus lane.

A bus route 521 regular, Meenakshi, said: “After the BRT was introduced, my commuting time has shot up from 15 minutes to an hour due to the slow movement of traffic along the corridor. When the bus stops were on the sides, it was easier to approach them; but now there is a lot of confusion over how to approach these new bus bays located in the middle of the busy road.”

“Also one is in constant danger of getting seriously hurt if one is unaware of the bus approaching the bay. I hope things get better with time as people get more familiar with this new system,” she added.

To avoid the traffic jam, some buses running on the corridor altered their route, adding to the woes of the passengers. A young office-goer, Laxmi Devi, who takes route 544 from Badarpur to Siri Fort, said: “This system was meant to benefit bus passengers, but we are the ones suffering the most. Earlier I used to reach office in 45 minutes, but today it took me over two hours to reach because of the heavy traffic jam. Also what added to the delay was the fact that buses got into the wrong lanes and we were unable to board them. All we could do was helplessly watch the buses go by.”

Many inconvenienced car users caught in the traffic mess too voiced their anger against the system and dubbed it “impractical” and a “money-making racket”.

A banker, Amit Bajaj, who took the route on Monday evening, said: “The way things are shaping up, this corridor is going to be a big mess. I don’t think lane segregation and lane discipline can be maintained in a city like Delhi which has a huge volume of cars and heavy traffic. People tend to take whichever lane they get space in.”

‘Lane indiscipline inevitable’

A traffic policeman stationed on the corridor said the problems of jams and lane indiscipline were inevitable owing to the new concept. “The green light prevails for merely five seconds, which is barely enough for the buses to pass. And if cars too enter the lane, then it slows traffic movement even further. We have no provision to take away heavy vehicles that break down on the stretch as a result of which traffic keeps piling up,” said the policeman.

“Experts who designed the system will be monitoring it for about a week and will suggest suitable changes thereafter. The main problem is that nobody has patience; neither the people nor us,” he concluded.

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