Amritsar will become the first city in Punjab to implement BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system and the first city in North India to implement a fully closed system. The total length of the corridor is 31 km and will have seven lines and 62 stations. BRT route will include the dedicated corridor as well as ‘mixed traffic’ zones such as the 3-km elevated road that runs along the general bus terminus.
The first phase of the project is inaugurated on 16 December 2016. In the first phase, the bus would traverse from India Gate on the Amritsar-Attari bypass road to the Amritsar railway station.
The project is headed by The Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB). Government of Punjab has constituted Punjab Bus Metro Society (PBMS), which is responsible for the implementation of BRTS for Amritsar city. PBMS has appointed M/s UMTC Limited to carry out the design, securing approvals, tendering and project management consultancy for complete implementation of BRTS in Amritsar.
The government created Amritsar City Transport Services Limited (ACTSL) in December 2006, which is responsible for the operation and maintenance of corridor.
The total project cost is estimated as INR 4.95 billion (US$ 75 million) and is being implemented with funding from both, the Government of Punjab and Govt. of India. 50% of the project cost is funded by Government of India, 20% will be borne by Punjab Government (through PBMS) and remaining 30% will be borne by Municipal Corporation of Amritsar.
Amritsar CMP (Comprehensive Mobility Plan) emphasised to build Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) to decongest the city and improve the traffic flow. Identified MRT corridors were further studied to find out most suitable and sustainable solution for the city, and BRT was envisaged as the best solution. The following BRT corridor is proposed in the city with median side double docking stations:
Atari Road – ISBT to India Gate via Bhandari Bridge, GNDU, Chheharta (12 km);
Jalandhar Road – ISBT to MCA Gate via Tarawalan Pul (6 km); and
Verka Road – ISBT to Verka via Hussainpura Bridge, G. T. Road Bypass (13 km)
Amritsar BRT is a closed system, i.e. only AC buses will run within a dedicated corridor. As no other traffic is allowed in the corridor, the buses run without any traffic hindrance and take less time to cover distances.
Construction work started on 26 February 2015. As of March 2016, 80% of work has been completed. It is expected the corridor will be constructed by December 2016. Importantly, the authority has also carried out construction work to improve the city infrastructure including improvement at Bhandari Bridge and RoB over Verka Town Railway Crossing.
A three tier trunk and feeder system has been proposed with four major routes connecting whole city. Total fleet requirement for BRT is 93 buses (103 buses with 90% of vehicle utilisation) which will be running on following four routes with headways varying between 3.5 to 4 minutes.
1) India Gate to ISBT @ 3.5 min frequency
2) India Gate to MCA gate @ 4 min frequency
3) India Gate to Verka @ 4 min frequency
4) Verka to MCA gate @ 4 min frequency
For providing the last mile connectivity in the whole city facility of public bike sharing stations, feeder bus connectivity has been provided and rickshaw stands have been incorporated in design. It has been made sure that buses’ including other BRT infrastructure is easily accessible by the handicaps.
The authority will be procured 93 diesel fuelled fully built 900 MM AC standard buses. The buses will be operated by private operator on Gross cost model. Tender for the same was released by the authority last month but failed to receive response from any private player.
Amritsar BRT system is an important BRT System in India as it will help to further popularize the concept in mid-size and smaller city. However, the authority needs to carry out many activities before the launching of the corridor including change management and marketing of BRT system among public.