The bus rapid transit system (BRTS) is set to improve connectivity to the hub of commercial activity in the city, Ashram Road. In the third phase of the project, the BRTS will make it easy for people from Wadaj to travel right up to the Ellisbridge end of Ashram road. There are, however, fears that a BRTS corridor on this very busy road may add to the traffic chaos on this stretch.
In the third phase, an additional 26.8 km will be added to the BRTS network. Officials said that the third phase is expected to cost Rs496 crore and will cover the stretch from Shivranjani to APMC; and Sattadhar to Science City in the western part of the city. It will also cover Hathijan, Aslali and Narol areas to name a few, the officials said.
Earlier, the Ashram Road stretch was not included in the planning for the third phase as the proposed metro link between Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad was expected to cover this commercial area. Later, however, the plan to extend the metro to Ashram Road was shelved by the state government’s urban development department and the AMC in view of the digging that would be required and the inadequate width of the road.
To make way for the BRTS, the AMC will now use the designated parking space on Ashram Road to widen roads and create space for infrastructure.
CEPT associate director Shivanand Swamy, who is chief planner of the project, said the BRTS will connect Wadaj to the Ellisbridge end of Ashram Road.
“The width of the road here is currently around 35 to 38 metres. The BRTS corridor will be designed in the same way as in other parts of the city,” said Swamy. People will also benefit from improved connectivity to AMC’s West Zone Office in Usmanpura, Gujarat Vidyapith, Income tax Circle and RBI office, he said. “As per the current plan, on all the new stretches planned in the proposed 26.8 km area there will be bus stations after every 500 metre,” he said.
“The traffic situation can only improve if people leave behind their cars. When we are providing Rs60 lakh AC buses, why can’t commuters leave behind their Rs6lakh cars and use the BRTS instead?” he said. However, in view of the traffic jams that take place at various places in the city, particularly at major junctions on the BRTS routes, will Ashram Road also become a victim of similar problems?
Utpal Padia, deputy municipal commissioner for the BRTS, told DNA that traffic jams on city roads were not because of the BRTS design.
“We have provided a mixed vehicle lane of the same size as commuters had prior to the BRTS,” said Padia.
Digpal Shah is a regular commuter to Ashram Road from Dharnidhar. He said that though the extension of the BRTS will give him direct connectivity from his home to office, he would not like to give up his car for the BRTS. “It is a good thing that it would enhance connectivity. But building a BRTS corridor on an already chaotic road will mean less space for two-wheelers and four-wheelers. Vehicle owners will have to look for interior roads to commute quickly and comfortably,” Shah said.