LAHORE: With the inauguration of the 27-kilometre long Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) track in Lahore from Gajjumata on Ferozepur Road to Shahdara Town on Sunday, Pakistan has now formally joined the club of countries that provide faster and more efficient bus services to their residents, though frequent traffic muddles are still a common sight in nearly every nation that has resorted to this mode.
The countries currently equipped with Bus Rapid Transit systems include the United States, India, Colombia, Argentine, United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, Nigeria, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Thailand, Finland, France, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and Australia etc.
The Trans-Jakarta Bus Rapid Transit in Indonesia is widely regarded as the longest BRT route in the World with a total network length of 172 kilometres.According to Reuters, the Jakarta network is used by approximately 340,000 people every day and has more than 520 buses in operation. It is operational since 2004 and by now there are 11 lines in operation, one more is under construction and three more are being planned.
In 2011, the Trans-Jakarta had carried around 115 million passengers, which was an increase of 32 per cent from the 87 million passengers carried during 2010.
As is expected to be the case with this multi-billion rupee public project in Lahore, the separate lanes dedicated for buses in Jakarta are being used by private cars and motorcycles, hence making it extremely difficult to solve the traffic congestion in the Indonesian capital.In 2011, the Indonesian government was providing a $ 0.29 (equivalent to approximately Pak Rs 29) subsidy per passenger-ticket.
The Guangzhou Bus Rapid Transit in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, operational since February 10, 2010, handles approximately one million passenger trips daily.
With bus volumes of one bus every 10 seconds or 350 per hour in a single direction, the Guangzhou Bus Rapid Transit currently has two new lines and two more extensions are planned.
It contains some of the world’s longest BRT stations.The 50-kilometre long Metrobus network in Miami (Florida, United States) consists of about 90 routes and 900 buses. It is operational since August 2, 1960, though the term Bus Rapid Transit was not used at that time.