Surat brings in Republic Day with a new BRT system!
Mumbai | January 26, 2014
By Amit Bhatt
On January 26, 2014 as India celebrated its Republic Day, Surat- India's diamond capital- began BRTS operations on a trial basis, inaugurated by the Mayor of Surat. Out of the proposed 30 km corridor, 10 km have been opened for trial operations. Currently, the project - called Sitilink- runs along the Surat-Navsari road, which is a southern radial road, connecting Surat and the nearby town of Navsari. Surat's BRT is the third full BRT in the India after Ahmedabad and Indore. The rest of the 20 kms segment will run along the canal in Surat and will involve the construction of a new road on both sides of the canal. Surat is one of the few cities in the country that has a canal passing through the heart of the city. The Surat BRT was sanctioned in 2008 under JNNURM program for 469.02 crores for a 30 km segment. As per the current plan, 9 BRT buses will run for 4 hours each in the mornings and evenings for a period of one month as 'trail run', during this period passengers will not be charged any fee for using the services. Commercial operations would start after 1 month trial run as this would not only help in addressing the initial teething issues around the system but would also help in establishing the demand for this system.
Surat is the fastest growing city in India, with a population of over 4 million (2011). Currently, the city has virtually no organized public transport services with only 70 buses run by a private operator. The service is not continuous with a relatively small fleet of buses unable to meet city needs. The cities informal public transport largely comprises of 30,000 auto rickshaws with very poor quality of service making an efficient BRTS the need of the hour for Surat.
EMBARQ India contributed to the project by helping in developing an organizational and Management Information System (MIS) structure for the BRTS operations along with capacity building since 2010. The MIS is akin to a reporting system for understanding what is happening with the BRTS operations so correct information go to the right people and they can take actions accordingly. EMBARQ India is also assisting the city with road safety analyses along the BRT corridor so that Surat BRT becomes one of the safest public transport systems.