aug 29th, 2009
bus rapid transit systems may well be one good response to increasingly congested indian cities' problems. an urban planner friend at mcgill university was telling me how metro systems, while coveted by city fathers as serious visible symbols of their machismo, are usually troubled by several problems: a) cost, b) reach, c) last-mile connectivity. he thought bus systems -- he mentioned bogota, colombia as a success story -- might be much more sensible.
interestingly, when i mention to friends that i sometimes travel by bus in india's cities, their response is "you mean you actually took a bus? funny, i haven't taken a bus in 10 years". they find it odd that actual middle-class people might travel by public bus, although quite a few do take company buses to work. and some cities have rolled out convenient air-conditioned buses, which are really not bad at all. but the tendency among most middle-class people is to automatically hail a taxi (in mumbai) or an auto (everywhere else).