|A bus station in Hamburg, Germany
The future is coming soon, at a bus stop near you.
Forget those iron pipes resting on two poles and covered with aluminium sheds. In about a year’s time one can expect swanky bus stop queue shelters made of stainless steel and glossy exteriors.
According to the “city operational plan” mandated by ministry of urban development for running city service buses under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (BUIDCo) has commenced the bidding process for development of 208 bus shelters across the city.
Work on developing the bus stop queue shelters has come up in tandem with expected delivery of 260 city service buses for Patna under JNNURM by Tata Motors by end-February.
“The norms laid down under JNNURM for running the urban transport buses require the state government to have a ‘city operational plan’. Accordingly, the state government recently approved proposals for developing 208 modern bus stop queue shelters in Patna for the JNNURM buses. The new bus queue shelters would be made of stainless steel, polycarbonate sheets and pre-fabricated material,” said a senior official of BUIDCo.
BUIDCo has been assigned the task by the state urban development and housing department. Department officials claimed the project would be executed over the next eight months at an estimated outlay of Rs 13.72 crore.
The location of these bus shelters was decided considering the major corridors of traffic movement in the city, including Ashok Raj Path, Patna-Digha-Danapur road, Bailey Road, Hardinge Road, and Kankerbagh road.
Meanwhile, BUIDCo has also been given approval to prepare a detailed project report for commissioning electronic traffic signals at 150 locations in the city.
“At a meeting on January 17 held under the chairmanship of Amir Subhani, principal secretary, home, it was decided that city superintendent of police (SP) would submit a list of important traffic junctions to BUIDCo for installation of electronic traffic signal and closed-circuit television cameras.
“After an approval on the respective proposal from the state government, BUIDCo would install and maintain the electronic traffic system for three years, while Patna Municipal Corporation pays electricity bills for them,” a BUIDCo official said.
The project to develop bus stop queue shelters and electronic traffic systems in the state capital is aimed at decongesting traffic and streamlining the operation of buses.
According to the city development plan of Patna (2010-2030), prepared by urban development and housing department, Patna urban agglomeration area is spread over 146.16 sqkm with most densely populated wards lying along the Ganga (300 to 900 persons per hectare), whereas the wards along the southern and western sides have lower population density (100 to 300 persons per hectare).
The average annual growth rate of vehicles from 1996-2001 was 5.7 per cent.
Though number of public transport vehicles — buses and autorickshaws — has increased manifold in the past few decades, the city still does not have sufficient number of bus stops.
As a result, city buses, autos and other public transport vehicles stop haphazardly, which leads to road congestions and jams and increases chances of accidents.
Also, the new bus shelters should increase commuter safety and comfort before they board buses. At present they have been keeping a safe distance from the bus stops given their dilapidated condition. In fact, most bus stops have been encroached.
“Most bus stops have been taken over by stray dogs or slum dwellers. At other places, garbage is dumped behind these bus stops, with commuters having to put up with the unbearable stench. We prefer to stand metres away from these stops,” said Harsh Kumar, a commuter.