The court asked the government to consider two key changes that could reduce congestion around the Chirag Dilli flyover, which has witnessed maximum traffic snarls.
“Let us find a mechanism to remove the problem and thereby save BRT. The concept is not bad and there is no defect in design, but sudden surge of traffic in the middle of the stretch brings a bad name to the entire project,” a division bench of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Manmohan Singh said.
The bench was hearing arguments on the matter after it was earlier transferred from the Chief Justice’s court.
After perusing a series of road maps and data submitted by the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), the bench identified a 900-metre stretch from Sheikh Sarai to Chirag Dilli as the major problem and asked the government to consider changes.
Backing the CRRI’s suggestion that some buses could be taken off the BRT to solve the problem, the court suggested that bus No. 534 (Anand Vihar to Mehrauli) and No. 534A (Anand Vihar to IGI Airport) should be re-routed.
The court said buses plying on this route cover 26 km, but use the BRT for a stretch of just 900 metres. It said putting these buses on the BRT served no purpose and the government should consider re-routing them to reduce congestion near the Chirag Dilli flyover.
In addition, the bench asked if chartered buses that run on the BRT could be re-routed because they caused a lot of congestion during peak hours.
It suggested that these buses should either be completely taken off the BRT or prohibited during peak hours. The bench asked the Transport department to urgently convene a meeting to discuss the issue and inform the court about its outcome by Tuesday.
The BRT faced an uncertain future after the High Court earlier directed the Delhi government to allow all vehicles to use the lane reserved for buses on the corridor that runs between Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand in South Delhi.
It observed that traffic on the route was smoother during a trial run conducted by the CRRI — between May 12 and May 23 this year — in which all vehicles were allowed to ply on the lanes that were earlier designated for buses.
The institute’s report said traffic moved up to 68 per cent faster without the BRT during the trial run, supporting the belief that allowing other vehicles to ply on the lane earmarked for buses was better for overall traffic movement.
The Delhi government, however, opposed the CRRI report, saying it trashed the BRT for the very reason it was first introduced - to ensure that buses run faster.
“According to statistics quoted by CRRI, the prime objective of establishing the BRT stands fully vindicated. As the very term BRT implies, the prime objective is Bus Rapid Transit. If the objective was that buses should travel faster, it has been achieved,” the government report to the High Court said.
High Court says BRT a positive policy measure
Identifies a 900-metre stretch from Sheikh Sarai to Chirag Dilli as major problem
Suggests changes to reduce snarls near Chirag Delhi flyover
Says bus No. 534 (Anand Vihar to Mehrauli) and No. 534A (Anand Vihar to IGI Airport) be re-routed
These buses ply on BRT for just 900 metres