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Bus Lanes Can Cut Mumbai's Congestion, Study Says
A new study shows that buses in designated lanes, like these in Delhi, can carry more people using less road space.  Photo: jenspie3.

A new study shows that buses in designated lanes, like these in Delhi, can carry more people using less road space. Photo by jenspie3.

Cars take up more space on Mumbai’s roads than buses and carry fewer passengers, says a recently released study. What’s more, a mere 10-20% increase in the number of buses along with designated bus lanes can make a serious dent in congestion and pollution.

More than 65% of the space at the city’s arterial junctions is occupied by cars, which carry around 40% of the total number of passengers. In contrast, buses occupy just 8% of road space at the same junctions and carry 45% of the passengers.

Increasing the number of buses on the busiest routes and creating designated bus lanes will boost bus ridership and decrease the number of vehicles on the roads. In effect, this change could greatly improve the efficiency of Mumbai’s transportation systems. One lane generally carries 2,000 people instead of the 20,000 it could carry with separated bus lanes, according to Madhav Pai, technical director of the Centre for Sustainable Transport in India (part of the EMBARQ Network, which produces this blog.)

More buses in their own lanes would decrease the number of other vehicles on the roads.  Graphic: Times of India.

More buses in their own lanes would decrease the number of other vehicles on the roads. Graphic: Times of India.

These statistics have provided sustainable transport advocates with even more evidence of the need for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Mumbai. Transport experts took the findings to Dilip Patel, chairman of the BEST bus system, urging BEST to implement BRT as soon as possible.

Patel agreed to push the issue forward, and is planning a meeting with political leadership.