Volume 3 Issue 6 - March 15, 2005

Disabled-friendly transport derailed before it can take off?

DNIS News Network - Bandied about as innovative disabled-friendly transport, the H.C.B.S. is yet to materialise.

Picture of the proposed roadways for the disabled-friendly High Capacity Bus System

The High Capacity Bus System (H.C.B.S.) is one the most innovative transport designs in the country. Created by transport expert Dinesh Mohan, from the Indian Institute of Technology, this system is cheap, efficient and safe, and also caters to the demands and expectations of disabled people.

The special features of H.C.B.S. are wheelchair-friendly subways, low-floored buses, wide entrances into buses (which can accommodate wheelchairs), tactile flooring for the visually impaired, wide bus aisles to manoeuvre wheelchairs, and also removable seats (where wheelchairs could then be clamped. All this and more at the lowest costs! A dream-come-true for the huge disabled population in the city.

Unfortunately, this dream hasn’t materialised into reality, as the Delhi Government seems to have completely ignored the transport sector. Termed as “bureaucratic lethargy” by a renowned journalist, the H.C.B.S. is facing “stepmotherly treatment” from the Delhi Government and is also running years behind schedule. The situation is so bleak that the pilot project is still to be launched despite financial clearance months ago!

Some of the high capacity buses that had been bought by the Delhi government last year are still lying unused; the Government has ordered more buses without laying down tracks for them. The emphasis, in the Capital’s transport sector, is totally on the Metro.

As compared to the Metro, however, the H.C.B.S is much cheaper -- the cost for 1 km of Metro rail can pay for 25 km of the H.C.B.S! “There is total lack of commitment to deal with transport-related projects. Relying only on the Delhi Metro will prove disastrous for the Capital as well as the people in the long run. Clearly, the government is going very slow and there is hardly any movement visible on the transport front,” a senior official remarked.

According to Geetam Tiwari, Associate Professor in the Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Programme (TRIPP) of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and an active participant in designing the H.C.B.S., “The project has the potential of providing a modern state-of-the-art public transport to almost 90% of Delhi’s population in the next 10 years. It gives you the maximum returns for every rupee invested. But it has not received the acceptance and enabling environment in terms of institutional set up and financial backing.”

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