Indore launches India’s first full BRT system

The new iBus service in the city of Indore, in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, is now transporting more than 23,000 passengers per day after just 100 days of operation. Madhya Pradesh’s first full Bus Rapid Transit system offers citizens a safe, convenient and comfortable mode of travel. “The iBus has undoubtedly made public transport safer and more convenient for the people of Indore,” said Amit Bhatt, Strategy Head – Integrated Urban Transport, EMBARQ India. “In particular, the response from women and children has been encouraging; a lot of women feel safer and more relaxed with the service quality of the iBus as compared to other informal modes like minibuses and auto rickshaws.The high frequency of the air-conditioned buses, coupled with separate seating areas for women has made the iBus a first choice for new passengers too.” The iBus is Indore’s first full BRT system, with a dedicated lane for its buses. At present, 13 buses run on an 11.45 kilometre stretch on the city’s arterial AB Road. There are 21 stations on the corridor, and buses run from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm. The iBus is an affordable public transport service, with a simple fee structure. Travel up to 2 kilometres costs INR 5 (US$ 0.08), up to 8 kilometres costs INR 10 and above 8 kilometres costs INR 15. As the commercial hub, and the largest city in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Indore has a growing population of over 2.29 million residents and the city has experienced increased road congestion, travel delays, traffic accidents and vehicular pollution. A modern, safe, efficient public transit system was needed to mitigate these problems. “Many people, including experts, saw the BRT as a system suitable for Latin American cities, and felt BRTs were not contextual to India,” added Bhatt. “In 2010, Ahmedabad started operations of the Janmarg BRTs. People involved in the project said BRTs would not flourish outside of the state of Gujarat. Then, Indore launched the iBus. While it is too early to term the iBus a gamechanger, the unprecedented and positive response it has received from the public, experts and local administration shows that the iBus has all the ingredients to help mainstream BRTs in India.” The Atal Indore City Transport Services Limited (AICTSL), Indore’s city transit agency, supported by EMBARQ India, launched a trial phase of the iBus BRT corridor in May 2013. During this phase, six custom-made air-conditioned BRT buses ran for 6 hours a day. On the first day of the trial run itself, 2,000 people rode the iBus, and positive public response saw the iBus scale up to eight buses, running full-day operations. Fare collection was introduced in June 2013. The current 11.45-kilometre stretch marks the first phase of the project. The entire project will be an 88.4-kilometre bus rapid transit network, to be completed in two further phases. At full fleet strength, the iBus will have 50 buses in total, and is expected to serve over 50,000 passengers per day. Source: www.