Hubli-Dhar­wad to get BRT sys­tem

Hubli-Dhar­wad BRT sys­tem is set to be op­er­a­tional in a few months from now.

Commercial Vehicle - - WHAT'S INSIDE - Story by: Bhushan Mhapralkar

Hubli-Dhar­wad BRT sys­tem is set to be op­er­a­tional.

Bus Rapid Trans­port (BRT) sys­tem is not new to In­dia. The Rainbow BRT sys­tem at Pune is said to be the first to be­gan op­er­a­tion in In­dia. Un­der the aegis of Pune Ma­hana­gar Pari­va­han Ma­haman­dal Limited (PMPML), the sys­tem en­vis­ages 113 km of ded­i­cated bus cor­ri­dors along with buses, bus sta­tions, terminals and in­tel­li­gent tran­sit man­age­ment sys­tem. The first route of the Delhi BRT sys­tem be­gan op­er­a­tion in 2008. It drew in­spi­ra­tion from a sim­i­lar sys­tem in Cu­ritiba, Brazil, which had been in op­er­a­tion since 1975. RITES (for­merly Rail In­dia Tech­ni­cal and Eco­nomic Ser­vice) and the In­dian In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy Delhi (IIT Delhi) were ap­pointed to de­sign and im­ple­ment the sys­tem. Set to be scrapped for a rea­son that it is dif­fi­cult to ac­cess the plat­forms, the Delhi BRT sys­tem may soon be his­tory. Like the Delhi BRT sys­tem, the Pune BRT sys­tem also faced re­sis­tance ini­tially. In 2010, the Jaipur BRT sys­tem be­gan op­er­a­tion. A year later, the Vi­jay­wada BRT sys­tem was also op­er­a­tional. In­clud­ing Delhi BRT sys­tem, in­dus­try sources claim that there are 24 BRT net­works in In­dia. Of th­ese nine are said to be un­der con­struc­tion, or are in the plan­ning stages. The HubliDhar­wad BRT sys­tem is claimed to be pro­gress­ing the fastest.

The de­sign

The con­struc­tion of Hubli-Dhar­wad BRT sys­tem is funded by the re­spec­tive state gov­ern­ment. To be pre­cise, the Gov­ern­ment of Kar­nataka has a 70 per cent stake in the Spe­cial Pur­pose Ve­hi­cle (SPV), the Hubli-Dhar­wad BRTS Com­pany Limited (HDBRTSCO). HDBRTSCO has an au­tho­rised cap­i­tal of Rs.200 mil­lion, and is im­ple­ment­ing the project. The re­main­ing 30 per cent stake is shared by Hubli-Dhar­wad Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (HDMC), North-Western Kar­nataka Road Trans­port Cor­po­ra­tion (NWKRTC) and Hubli-Dhar­wad Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (HDUDA). The op­er­a­tion and main­te­nance work will be done by HubliDhar­wad Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (HDMC) in as­so­ci­a­tion with Kar­nataka State Road Trans­port Cor­po­ra­tion (KSRTC). Claimed to op­er­ate over a dis­tance of 70 km,

the Hubli-Dhar­wad BRTS, claim sources, was orig­i­nally de­signed to op­er­ate over a dis­tance of 22.25 km, orig­i­nat­ing from Hubli CBT and end­ing at Dhar­wad CBT. Over­time the cor­ri­dor was ex­tended to in­clude the Agri­cul­tural Univer­sity, Dhar­wad. A four-lane bus cor­ri­dor will thus run in the mid­dle of an eight-lane free­way, men­tion sources. They state that the free­way will in­clude two lanes for mixed traf­fic in both the di­rec­tions. The width of the cor­ri­dor is set to vary from 24.5 m to 44.0 m. Four un­der­passes for reg­u­lar traf­fic are planned at Unkal Lake, UnkalCross Road, Bairi­de­varakoppa, and Na­vana­gar. De­signed to have two lines – trunk and feeder, the BRT sys­tem will have 33 sta­tions. Out of the 33 sta­tions planned, 12 sta­tions will be lo­cated on the 44 m wide ex­press cor­ri­dor start­ing from Taj Ho­tel and end­ing at the Gand­hi­na­gar Cross, Dhar­wad.

Smart trans­port

Lo­cated at the mid­dle of the BRT cor­ri­dor, the sta­tions will be fourme­ter wide. Each sta­tion will act as ref­er­ence point for GPS. Each sta­tion will have LED dis­plays, which will dis­play the sched­ule of bus ar­rival and de­par­ture. The BRTS (trunk) cor­ri­dor, claim sources, will op­er­ate as a ‘closed sys­tem’ whereas the feeder and city bus ser­vices will op­er­ate in the ‘open sys­tem’. The rid­er­ship for the project was said to be 237,968 in 2014 against a fleet size of 190 buses. In 2017, the rid­er­ship is es­ti­mated to be 564,000 against a fleet size of 452 buses. Over 200,000 peo­ple are ex­pected to use the cor­ri­dor daily. Con­sid­er­ing the rush the buses cur­rently ply­ing be­tween Dhar­wad CBT and Hubli CBT ex­pe­ri­ence in ei­ther di­rec­tion, the BRT sys­tem will have to have a high fre­quency of buses on the cor­ri­dor. With the rid­er­ship es­ti­mated to reach 400,000 peo­ple by 2021, the Hubli-Dhar­wad BRT sys­tem is no doubt one of the im­por­tant such projects in the coun­try.

De­signed with cen­tral bus lanes to min­imise in­ter­fer­ence of traf­fic ply­ing on the mixed traf­fic lanes, the sys­tem will in­clude seg­re­gated bus ways, con­trolled bus sta­tions, phys­i­cal and fare in­te­gra­tion with BRT feeder, off­board tick­et­ing through smart cards and pa­per tick­ets, and high qual­ity buses (stan­dard as well as ar­tic­u­lated). The cor­ri­dor is de­signed to op­er­ate reg­u­lar and ex­press ser­vices. Con­sist­ing of two lanes for BRTS buses on ei­ther side of the me­dian bus sta­tion fa­cil­i­tat­ing over­tak­ing lanes for ex­press ser­vices, the key in­fra­struc­ture in­cludes sta­tions with two and three-bay con­fig­u­ra­tion to sup­port stan­dard and ar­tic­u­lated bus dock­ing. Tick­ets shall be is­sued at sta­tions, and com­muters with a valid ticket or a smart card can only ac­cess the plat­form through au­to­matic slid­ing doors. Two new de­pots at Dhar­wad and Hubli re­spec­tively are be­ing con­structed for the park­ing and main­te­nance of the buses. The de­pots will be equipped with mod­ern fa­cil­i­ties like au­to­matic wash­ing and au­to­mated oil dis­pens­ing sys­tem. HDBRTS is also de­vel­op­ing a di­vi­sional work­shop for heavy main­te­nance at Hubli.

An or­der for 30 (18 m long) vestibule buses has been placed by HDBRTS with Tata Mo­tors. The buses will have a floor height of 900 mm. An or­der for 100 (12 m long) two-axle buses with a floor height of 900 mm has been placed with Volvo Buses In­dia. Th­ese buses, claim in­dus­try sources, are of the UD make. Sources also men­tioned that an or­der for 60 (9 m long and 650 mm floor

height) midi buses has been placed with Ashok Ley­land. The buses will be laced with an In­tel­li­gent Trans­port Sys­tem (ITS) as part of the need to com­ply with UBS II spec­i­fi­ca­tions. To make the HubliDhar­wad BRT sys­tem truly smart, the ITS will in­clude au­to­mated ve­hi­cle lo­ca­tion sys­tem, pas­sen­ger in­for­ma­tion sys­tem, au­to­matic fare col­lec­tion sys­tem, tran­sit man­age­ment sys­tem, and an in­ci­dent man­age­ment sys­tem. With the learn­ings of the BRT sys­tem at Ahmed­abad, Pune and Delhi put to use, the Hubli-Dhar­wad BRT sys­tem, claim in­dus­try sources, will have buses that are fit­ted with a cam­era, DVR and speak­ers. The driver will have an ad­dress sys­tem at his dis­posal, may he feel the need to make an an­nounce­ment or pro­vide in­for­ma­tion.

En­gi­neered to have a dis­tance based fare struc­ture, the BRT sys­tem will of­fer smart cards and bar-coded pa­per tick­ets to com­muters. On-board tick­et­ing will be used for the feeder ser­vice, in­te­grated with the BRT cor­ri­dor. HDBRTS will in­tro­duce com­plete tran­sit man­age­ment sys­tem to au­to­mate sched­ule of buses and man­power. Dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tion func­tions like ad­min­is­tra­tion, fi­nance and hu­man re­sources will be in­te­grated for ef­fi­cient and smooth func­tion­ing. An in­ci­dent man­age­ment sys­tem is de­signed to mon­i­tor day-to­day op­er­a­tions, and sup­ple­ment pas­sen­ger safety other than aid­ing ef­fec­tive en­force­ment with the help of tech­nolo­gies like CCTV and pas­sen­ger an­nounce­ment sys­tem. HDBRTS will setup a con­trol cen­tre to mon­i­tor all sys­tems. Called the cen­tral mon­i­tor­ing cen­ter, it will pro­vide space and con­nec­tiv­ity for around 32 work­sta­tions, which will mon­i­tor the ITS sys­tems. Ex­pected to op­er­ate with the prime aim of be­ing com­muter-cen­tric, the BRT sys­tem at Hubli-Dhar­wad is slated to be op­er­a­tional by the end of this year. Opin­ion is di­vided on the time-line of Septem­ber. Some in­dus­try sources with the knowl­edge of the de­vel­op­ment claim that it may take a lit­tle longer to en­sure a smooth start. They stress on fac­tors like ac­ces­si­bil­ity and safety, and the need for in­te­gra­tion with other new and ex­ist­ing modes of trans­porta­tion to in­crease tran­sit rid­er­ship with con­ve­nience. It is nec­es­sary that this BRT sys­tem does not suf­fer from the re­sis­tance faced by the sys­tem at Pune dur­ing the ini­tial pe­riod, said an­other source. He also drew at­ten­tion to the fac­tors like dif­fi­culty in ac­cess­ing the sta­tion, which caused the Delhi BRT sys­tem to fal­ter. At­ten­tion was also drawn to­wards the need to pro­vide park­ing space (on ground or un­der ground) near the sta­tion for two wheel­ers and cars to make it eas­ier for com­muters to avail of the BRT ser­vices. Also, stops for the feeder bus ser­vice.

The suc­cess of the HubliDhar­wad BRT sys­tem will lie in the last mile trans­porta­tion opined a source. He pointed at the Ahmed­abad and In­dore BRT sys­tem’s in­abil­ity to ad­dress last mile con­nec­tiv­ity. Much at­ten­tion was paid at Ahmed­abad to pro­vide ded­i­cated routes for buses to op­er­ate with hardly any shaded pedes­trian foot­paths sans ob­sta­cles, he said. The same is now be­ing rec­ti­fied, he added.

If the de­mand for CNG buses in the in­ter­est of en­vi­ron­ment picked up al­beit af­ter the or­der for 30 diesel-pow­ered vestibule buses, 100 diesel-pow­ered 12 m long buses was placed, the fact is, diesel-pow­ered buses are prov­ing to be more eco­nom­i­cal and prac­ti­cal con­sid­er­ing the op­er­at­ing costs of CNG and its avail­abil­ity. Diesel tech­nol­ogy too has been pro­gress­ing, and emis­sion lev­els with the mi­gra­tion to BSIV have fur­ther dipped. While the scope for elec­tric buses looks brighter, the Hubli-Dhar­wad BRT sys­tem could do with ef­fi­cient man­age­ment and com­muter friendly op­er­a­tions.

⇨ The 100 buses or­dered are claimed to be of the UD brand.

⇧ The BRT sys­tem will have 30 Vestibule buses.

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