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dedicated busway, more buses

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  • ecoplan (paris)
    The Hindu reported on July 30: 2000 Volvo buses from Sweden are to be placed on select routes in Bangalore, Southern India. The State Transport Minister,
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2000
      The Hindu reported on July 30: "2000 Volvo buses from Sweden are to be
      placed on select routes in Bangalore,
      Southern India. The State Transport Minister, C.R.Sageer Ahmed said the
      first phase of the Metro Bus Project involved a 12 km dedicated track
      between Jayanagar Bus Station and Shivajinagar Bus Station." (Thanks to G.
      Ananthakrishnan,)

      Dear Colleagues,

      This "Metro Bus Project", to respond to Wendell Cox's question, is indeed a
      derivative of the original Curitiba project, of which the latest version is
      currently abuidling in Bogotá under the name Transmilenio. (For the former
      you can go to @ccess on the Web site at http://www.ecoplan.org/access, click
      Learning From and then Curitiba), and for the latter go to
      http://www.alcaldiabogota.gov.co/transmilenio/index.html)

      The tone of the article seems to indicate that this is a sure thing, with
      "The buses expected to
      be on Bangalore roads by December". That might well be a good thing, but I
      am obliged to wonder how realistic it is. This is not to pour cold water on
      what can be a terrific transportation concept in the right circumstances,
      but let me see if I can try to put this into quick perspective. I'll do
      this here in public and give those better informed and closer to the sources
      an opportunity to correct and amplify. Here are my main sticking points:

      1. If they are to meet their December deadline, then they must almost be
      through building the guideway and those buses must be well advanced on the
      assembly line. Building the infrastructure for these SurfaceMetro systems
      (as well tend to call them) is not something that can be done overnight.
      (Again a progress check of the Transmilenio should help clarify how this
      works.)

      2. These systems make a pretty considerable claim on the urban real estate
      in each place. Usually they require wide urban boulevards, which of course
      are not always so easy to find in densely built up areas.

      3. The article suggest that the Swedish Development Agency might pay for the
      buses. Well, if so they better already have the money in the bank. While
      SIDA is an efficient organization by the usual international standards, it
      still is very much a government bureaucracy, and things take time there.
      Also, it may be noted that the Swedes have not been handing over very many
      of their hard earned Kroner since the Indian government decided that they
      needed to test a few atomic bombs. Indeed, I do think that the Scan-well is
      running quite dry at the moment.

      4. Other sticking points for such a project, and all the more given the very
      tight reported timetable, include: (a) the not so evident telematics which
      are required to support a system of this sort (identification, acquisition,
      financing and getting the stuff on line, tested and debugged to permit
      commercial operation); (b) the organizational and management challenges
      involved in making such a novel system work properly; and (c) the small
      problem of how you handle the problem of what is in effect competition with
      the private bus operators and other transporters who compete for the same
      street space. Never mind all the usual car folk, who rarely take this sort
      of thing lying down.

      I sincerely hope that someone is going to step forward now and correct my
      errors and worries as set out in the above, because it would sure be great
      to know for a fact that a terrific new, high performing, cost-effective,
      clean, affordable, etc. transport system was about to come on line in
      Bangalore. The world certainly needs such examples. And if this project is
      actually on, we will be pleased to open up a portion of the site in our
      @ccess on the Web program to help track progress.

      Eric Britton

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