Skip to main content

Contrary to World Bank claims, Ahmedabad survey finds BRTS has "no space" for the urban poor, cyclists

A typical BRTS station
Counterview Desk
While a recent World Bank report (click HERE) is all praise for the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) of Ahmedabad for its ability to “shift” nearly 22 per cent of the motorbike users to the transport facility in Gujarat’s business capital, created in 2007, a spot study – carried out on the basis of primary survey about two years ago – has said it has failed to give a helping hand to the poor.
The study, “Low-Carbon Mobility in India and the Challenges of Social Inclusion: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Case Studies in India” by Ahmedabad’s CEPT University professors Darshini Mahadevia and Rutul Joshi, has said, the place where BRTS became a big success, Bogota, had a “big component” cycling in the entire scheme of things, “which actually led to the betterment of the city’s public transport scenario.”
But, it regrets, “In the case of Ahmedabad, planners did not meet the claims made in their own Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) about creating facilities for walking and cycling.”
While pointing out that half of those who used BRTS walked to get the bus, and 76 per cent of them lived within half a kilometre of the BRTS station, and another 23 per cent lived within half to one kilometre of the BRTS station, the study says, the primary survey found that “no one is cycling to the BRTS station”.
Open gutter on cycle lane next along BRTS 
People do not cycle “not for any other reason than the non-availability of cycle-parking facilities”, the study says. “In the surveyed stretches, bicycle tracks were provided only on 26.2 per cent of the BRTS track and footpaths were provided on 83.7 per cent of the BRTS track.”
Even these tracks, it says, nothing was not obstruction free. Of the available bicycle tracks, “35 per cent were obstructed due to various reasons like unauthorised parking, open manholes, rainwater drainage, electricity poles, etc.” And at one spot, next to the high profile Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) campus, “the excuse of ‘lack of space’ and ‘security concerns” led to cancellation of the bicycle track.
As for the footpaths, the study says, about 52.5 per cent of them are “obstructed” due to “various reasons like signboards, light posts, trees, post boxes, telephone boxes, entrances to buildings, and unauthorised two-wheeler parking.”
As for facilities for the physically challenged, the study says, “Although the bus stops have been designed in a way that they are wheel chair-friendly, access to bus stops is gated by concrete pillars, which makes it impossible for the blind, people with crutches and wheelchairs to reach the bus stations.”
Further: “Entry and exit into a BRTS station is difficult for everyone and discipline along the zebra crossings is not enforced.”
The study also points to the fact that of the total BRTS users, just 13.7 per cent belong to household incomes of up to Rs 5,000 (2009-10 price), but on the other hand, “62.2 per cent of users had monthly household incomes of more than Rs 10,000.” In fact, it adds, “About 30 per cent of the BRTS trips are for purposes related to social, recreational and shopping trips”, suggesting, BRTS has only “made long-distance recreational facilities more accessible for the middle class from western Ahmedabad and has created new demand for transport.”
Slum areas and BRTS
The study says, “Prior to the BRTS, a large proportion (47 per cent) of the current users were taking AMTS (municipal) buses, and because the AMTS services were discontinued on the BRTS corridors they shifted to the BRTS”, and “this group can be termed as the ‘captive users’.” It adds, “Only 12 per cent of commuters have shifted from the private motorized transport (PMT).”
Pointing out that because of its high costs, the BRTS is not being used by the lower income groups, the survey shows that 48 to 50 per cent of the slum-dwellers walk down to their work, 14 to 17 per cent use cycles (mostly males), nine to 12 per cent use the traditional municipal buses (AMTS) because they are cheaper, 14 to 16 per cent use shared auto-rickshaws, just less than 1 per cent use BRTS.
The study says, this is even true of the slum three settlements “Santoshinagar na Chhapara (north, near Naroda), Hanumannagar (east, near CTM) and Sanjaynagar (west, near Sola housing), located within a 200 metres walking distance from a BRTS bus stop.”

Comments

TRENDING

'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-related deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

Over 3.8 billion animals at risk: India on crossroad in animal welfare practices

By Rupali Soni*  In a collaborative effort, the India Animal Fund and Dasra have unveiled their report , "Our Shared Future | Securing Animal Welfare, Human Wellbeing, and Sustainability in India." This landscape report provides a thorough overview of animal welfare and underscores its indispensable role within India's socio-economic and ecological frameworks. It also illustrates how animal welfare is intricately intertwined with public health, labor welfare, and climate resilience.

August 9 to be observed as Corporates Quit India day: Top farmers' group

By Our Representative A recent general body meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the top farmers' organisation, stated hat "there is no need for any illusion of change in the pro-corporate policies of the BJP-NDA government" following the recent elections in which BJP failed to achieve even simple majority. It insisted,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi "is hell bent" to continue 'business as usual' policies.

Maharashtra govt's proposed bill may be used against 'dissenting' journalists, writers, filmmakers, artists

Counterview Desk  The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra, strongly objecting to what it calls “repressive and unconstitutional” Maharashtra Special Public Security Bill 2024, has demanded the proposed law be scrapped in its entirety. In its Statement of Objects and Reasons for the Bill, PUCL noted,  the broad and non-descript label of ‘urban naxal’ has been used, which is actually a “common slur used for any citizen who expresses their opposition to state policy or is not aligned with right-wing majoritarian views."

Belgian report alleges MNC Etex responsible for asbestos pollution in Madhya Pradesh town Kymore: COP's Geneva meet

By Our Representative A comprehensive Belgian report has held MNC Etex , into construction business and one of the richest, responsible for asbestos pollution in Kymore, an industrial town in in Katni district of Madhya Pradesh. The report provides evidence from the ground on how Kymore’s dust even today is “annoying… it creeps into your clothes, you have to cough it”, saying “It can be deadly.”