Staff Reporter, May 22, 2008, The Hindu.

NEW DELHI: The highly controversial Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system here has received some belated support – this time from its regular users. A joint random perception survey of commuters travelling on the Capital’s first BRT corridor conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the Delhi Greens and the Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) has revealed overwhelming support for the corridor from pedestrians, cyclists, bus drivers and commuters and – surprisingly – also from car and two-wheeler drivers.

The findings of the survey, released by CSE here on Wednesday, show that as many as 83 per cent of all commuters are happy with the dedicated lane system of BRT and want that it should be continued. The major support for BRT came from bus commuters and pedestrians/cyclists — a whopping 88-91 per cent of the respondents said that they are happy with the BRT system and want that it should be extended to more areas of Delhi.

Contrary to popular belief, only 8 per cent of the motorists and two-wheeler commuters reportedly said that BRT should be scrapped and 73 per cent agreed that the project can be continued. Asked whether they would shift from their personal vehicles to better, faster and high-frequency buses equipped with AC and GPS running on the BRT corridor, 26 per cent of motorists and two-wheeler answered positively.

The survey, carried out between April 30 and May 5, consisted of CSE and Delhi Greens volunteers randomly stopping and asking commuters what difference – positive or negative – the BRT was making to their daily commutes. Since there has been talk of scrapping the project, the surveyors also asked whether commuters wanted the BRT to continue.

Of the 1,500 people surveyed during this period, 55 per cent were bus commuters, 23 per cent cyclists and pedestrians, 16 per cent motorists and two-wheeler commuters and the rest a mixed category of those using autos and other vehicles.

The surveyors also noted that people were reluctant to use the BRT corridor because it extends for a mere 5.8 km. Many of the motorists and two-wheeler commuters also said that jams on the motor vehicle lanes and at intersections should be reduced and more space should be allocated to them.

Feeder buses

Most commuters wanted the BRT corridor to be connected to the Delhi Metro railway and introduction of feeder buses on the corridor. There were also suggestions of bicycles to be made available on rent on the stretch.

CSE Associate Director Anumita Roychowdhury said: “The findings of this perception survey are a people’s verdict for BRT. The survey findings reinforce the argument that the BRT system is an important part of the solution to pollution and congestion nightmare. A commuter-friendly BRT system would have to be among the key elements in such a road map.”

Click here to read this news report on The Hindu’s website.