The I-Bus has been recently launched with a pilot BRTS on one route i.e. A B Road with sixteen buses. Seven routes have been identified for I-Bus. The project is an initiative of Atal Indore City Transport Services Limited, Indore Municipal Corporation, Indore Development Authority and Madhya Pradesh Public Works Department under JnNURM projects of Government of India and Madhya Pradesh Government with support from the Global Environment Facility.
City-based NGO Roopankan along with Urban Development Forum Indore and Institute for Democracy and Sustainability (IDS), Delhi conducted a meeting in early May 2013 for local people to have a chance to express their opinions about transport issues, their expectations from the city and to even suggest solutions. More than 50 people from various walks of life, young, old, students, professionals and housewives, mobility and visually impaired, men and women articulated their views. These include:
- Walking is difficult due to inadequate footpaths and crossings. Footpaths have extremely poor design and maintenance, and are encroached by parked vehicles and other obstacles.
- The visually impaired in particular cannot negotiate the streets without facing extreme danger. This makes them even more dependent on others, reduced their ability to pursue education, hold a job and thus impacts their economic status.
- Cyclists drew attention to the lack of any decent cycle tracks. Even where tracks exist, such as along the BRT corridor, they are not continuous and suddenly disappear. At the start and end of the tracks they are not smooth, but have abrupt edges. So cycle tracks are not usable, and they have to use the motor carriageway, which puts them in danger and also slows down other traffic.
- Women and girls repeatedly mentioned instances of eve teasing, and that overcrowded public transport creates very unpleasant situations for them.
- The motorists’ attitude towards pedestrians and their rash driving is a cause of great concern, for those on the street and those worried about the safety of their loved ones.
- The main issue in connection with the BRT is crossing the street, since now the entire corridor has been barricaded, without any breaks where pedestrians can safely cross.
- Most people did not support foot over-bridges or subways, are they are difficult to use by senior citizens and the disabled. Such structures may become unsafe for women and children. They preferred simple at-grade crossing.
- People also felt that instead of, or in addition to BRT, the city should have focused on improving the basic city bus service
The elements people are stressing, based on their experience, are also highlighted in the National Urban Transport Policy of the Government of India. It too puts emphasis on walking, cycling and public transport. The NUTP also says that all modes of transport should be integrated, so that a person has a seamless experience while travelling.
People are in clear agreement with the Policy when they demand that vehicles should not be parked on the roads and that they should be made to pay for off-street parking. Finally, it was clear that many people have only a vague idea about BRT and its design. Clearly the city has to do a lot more to create awareness about the project and also get inputs from people on the ground, who can surely provide inputs to the planners and help improve it.
Mr Ashok DubePresident,
Indore-452006, Madhya Pradesh