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Delhi's BRT Battle Likely Headed to the Supreme Court

The fight to bring efficient public transit to the Indian capital in the form of a dedicated Bus Rapid Transit corridor may be headed for the country's Supreme Court, as the government fights the city’s wealthy, car-owning minority.
July 9, 2012, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Malavika Vyawahare and Pamposh Raina document efforts by some of Delhi's private citizens, who complain of congested roads adjacent to underutilized bus lanes, to open up the city's dedicated BRT corridor to automobile traffic.

Although private vehicle use is on the rise throughout India, "Delhi's buses are residents' most important method of transportation in the city of over 16 million."

"Fewer than 20 percent of road users in Delhi travel in private vehicles, including cars and scooters, while about half of all road users in Delhi commute by bus, according to the RITES Delhi Traffic and Forecast Study." Furthermore, transportation experts argue that Delhi's streets will exceed capacity by 2021, making public transit an essential element in meeting residents' mobility needs.   

As the court battle illustrates, "Convincing private vehicle owners to use public transportation remains a difficult task in India. Car-pooling Web sites have sprung up recently, but bus transportation is widely seen as inconvenient, crowded and unsafe for women."

"Despite the pending legal dispute, the Press Trust of India quoted Sheila Dikshit, Delhi's chief minister, last month as saying that her government 'will commission more BRT routes in the city as a means to promote public transport, as a bulk of passengers were ‘happy' with the existing facility,' but provided no further details."


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Published on Monday, July 9, 2012 in The New York Times
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