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Experts not too enthusiastic about Tricity Metro project

Saturday, 25 May 2013 | Nishu Mahajan | Chandigarh | in Chandigarh

The experts engaged in urban transport planning have taken dim view of UT Administration’s much-hyped Metro project aimed at strengthening the public transport system here.

Anumita Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director-Research and Advocacy and Centre of Science and Environment who along with other experts were in the city to attend seminar on “City Dialogue on Clean Air and Sustainable mobility”, pointed out that the transport issues can be well addressed by rationalisation of local bus system and its augmentation.

While talking to The Pioneer, on the sidelines of the seminar, she said, “The Metro comes at the top in the hierarchy of public transport and needs huge investment. The city should rather explore other ways of improving public transport.”

Explicating, she said, “Here, people are not going to walk upto Madhya Marg or 1-2 km to reach the Metro station, they would rather prefer their private vehicles to travel within the city. The higher authorities should work on improving the bus services here.”

She added, “There is also a need to explore best practice models in other cities — fuel surcharge, congestion tax, public transport run on CNG among others and Traffic Demand Management measures to generate revenue, and increase bus ridership.”

Expressing dissent to UT’s move to bring in metro project here, Anvita Arora, Director and CEO, Innovative Transport Solutions (ITRANS), Delhi said, “The Metro project would not be helpful for the city at all. Chandigarh is a small city and here people are entirely dependent on their own vehicles and they would not prefer walking for 1-2 km to reach Metro stations.”

She said, “The authorities should rather enhance accessibility and mobility of the CTU run buses and work on improving intra-city bus service. Add more buses to the existing fleet, improve bus efficiency and its service, provide bus shelters and enhance services of auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws to provide extra mile connectivity in the city.”

Adding to this, Laghu Parashar, manager of Urban Mass Transit Company Limited (UMTC), Delhi said, “There is a need to prioritize the investment in the urban transport sector. There is a need to improve bus services as people would certainly opt for the bus services if it is reliable.”

Grappling to streamline the poor public transport infrastructure here, the UT Administration is doing the spadework for the multi-crore Metro project that proposes to link Chandigarh with satellite townships of Mohali and Panchkula.

Meanwhile, the experts endorsed UT’s proposal to construct Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors to ease the ever-increasing traffic congestion here. 

Anumita Roy Chowdhury said, “By introducing dedicated bus lanes here can improve the traffic woes.  It would also reduce the number of accidents happening due to buses here.”

“BRT corridor is a better alternative to ease the traffic congestion here. The Administration should explore this option as the dedicated lane system can very well

While speaking at the Seminar organised by UT Administration and New Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment, UT Finance Secretary-cum-Urban Planning Secretary VK Singh admitted that the UT Administration was at fault while planning widening of roads, widening lanes near roundabouts and while carrying out other plans to ease the traffic congestion in the city.

Singh said, “The thinking process of higher authority remained car-centric in the past and all the plans were carried out considering the escalating number of four-wheelers in the city. But now, we understand that widening of the area around the roundabouts here was a wrong move.”

In the past, the UT Engineering Department has carried out widening of roads and widening of area around roundabouts to accommodate more vehicles in the area and to deal with the traffic congestion.

The Engineering-cum-Urban Planning Secretary went on say, “People in our Department do not have that competency and that is why we are taking assistance of experts to deal with traffic issues.” PNS

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