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February 11, 2020

Board BRT bus at your own risk!

Top Story

February 11, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Once ready, board the Peshawar BRT bus at your own risk as serious design-related issues have been identified in the Rs66 billion project by an official report amid warning that they may cause collision of buses facing each other, perpetual disruption of service, flooding and a lot more.

There are also no provision of universal accessibility features for senior citizens and people with disabilities at various stations; glossy tiles used in the bus stations are slippery and thus dangerous for elders, children, etc; road crossing, overhead bridges, U-turns and parking facilities were also not fully provided while bus stations are poorly designed.

“Construction of substandard station design layouts, creating blind spots which may cause collision of buses facing each other. BRT passing lanes at bus station docketing areas along the BRT Corridor create blind spots which could potentially lead to vehicles collisions,” reveals the report of Auditor General of Pakistan.

It added that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) representatives also highlighted that at various locations along the BRT corridor, it was impossible for two buses maneuvering at the curvature/ turning point while maintaining speed. These defective curvatures could potentially increase the risk of collisions affecting operational efficiency of the BRT system.”

The report added that the ADB representatives havealso reported that the station access stairs at stations have inconsistent riser height and tread width, which was a serious safety hazard. Further, mild steel and industrial flooring utilised was not acceptable.

The report said that there was no provision of universal accessibility features for senior citizens and people with disabilities at various stations. It was noticed that universal features such as elevators, ramps and stairs were not provided at majority of the BRT stations due to unknown reasons.

“The ADB mission highlighted that specific bus boarding Kessel Kerbs were essential for safe and easy boarding at the BRT stations by providing reduced gap/ level difference between pavement and the bus platform. The ADB mission highlighted that the existing Kassel Kerbs at all BRT stations was substandard and hence not fit for purpose,” the report said.

The report added, “Another very serious flaw regarding design was the provisions of road crossings, overhead bridges, U-turns and parking facilities were not fully provided. This will lead to perpetual disruption of BRT service and will create problems for communities regarding pedestrian road crossing and U-turns.”

The report pointed out that poor planning for drainage resulted in flooding on University Road due to seasonal downpour. Incomplete/ non-existent drainage system was observed at all elevated stations of BRT Corridor. Besides the Project Implementation Unit, the ADB also highlighted that no channels were provided for catching rain water at BRT stations. More over the station roofs were unevenly finished which present very poor aesthetic sense and do not provide for installations of rain catching channels.

It added that ADB representatives also highlighted the issue regarding poor design of bus stations. “The extensive use of glass in the station design will likely create a heat island effect in which interior temperature will rise to extreme levels.”

“Cheap and glossy porcelain tiles were used across majority of the BRT stations against the non-glassy and lustrous titles as described in the original specifications. This issue was also highlighted by the ADB in its Progress Review that the tiles applied to various buses stations floor were glossy and slippery. These tile are not safe especially for elderly people, children and people with impaired disabilities.”

The audit report also highlighted the quality related issues and noted the use of cheaper material for bus stations sheds along the entire BRT corridor. It added, “Poor quality and design of guardrail/ fence along BRT Corridor, comprising road safety in future. ADB team instructed PIU/ PMCSC to ensure provision of anti-climb and anti-cut fence in the remaining sections of corridor, as the existing fence was prone to vandalism.

The report also talked about substandard construction of Transoms along the BRT Corridor. The Audit report also pointed out, “Honeycombing of columns at Dabgari Staging Facility and using low standard material compromising strength of the construction and leading to failure of structure.”

As reported by The News a few days back, the Audit report on BRT Peshawar has also documented losses, wastages, unauthorized variations, irregular payments etc worth billions of rupees and observed that the projects planning was faulty and construction work started in the absence of detailed engineering design.

The report showed that the ADB had well in time identified the risk that “political pressure to fast track the project due to General Elections 2018 will undermine both design and implementation of the project”. The ADB also did not want the DED (Detailed Engineering Design) to be developed on the basis of the preliminary design.

But still the provincial government did not care for any such warning and demonstrated that its “planning process was so shallow that it couldn’t even calculate the appropriate and reasonable completion time”.