BRT system could solve transport issues – Dr Gunaruwan

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By 2017-12-11

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Government is not giving priority to the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system as it might become a problem for Megapolis light railway plans, Dr. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan, Senior Lecturer of Economics at the University of Colombo and Secretary, Ministry of Transport, said.

"It must be questioned whether the Government has thrown the proposal for a BRT system into the dustbin. If so, that is pathetic because we could have implemented the BRT system at a low cost in a short time and solved our pressing Colombo urban transport issues. I wonder whether the Government, systematically, discouraged Professor Amal Kumarage and his team, made them leave and replaced them with another group of people, allowing the BRT idea to die a natural death," he said.

Gunaruwan added that the BRT system, which would bring about many in-bus and systemic quality improvements and has the potential of elevating the urban transport system to a higher level.

"There may be better options including light rail, but all those options are highly expensive and time consuming. I am glad that this Government is embarking on a electrification of the existing sub-urban railway because it will greatly increase the quality of our trains, but we have to keep a close eye on how the Government would formulate and implement the project, who gets the contract and at what price, etc. But, even the sub-urban railway electrification is not a substitute for BRT, which system can be made ready to shoulder the traffic problems within a much shorter horizon and a lesser cost," Gunaruwan said.

He added that a BRT solution was proposed in 2015, and was to be first inplemented along the Galle Road between Panadura and Colombo and subsequently extended to Kadawatha. Parliament Road, High Level and Low Level Roads and Negombo road also were considered for inclusion.

"If implemented as planned, the project would have enhanced the quality of our bus transport quite significantly, elevating it from the presently treated level, as the low quality mode of transport of the poorest. That should not be the case, we should have buses that can attract a man who travels in a motor car," he said.



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