Moving along the Rainbow

This is a continuation to a previous post, The Rainbow Across Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.

Several significant changes have happened since then; notably the following:

  • Bus Number 324 has been renumbered to Vajra 6 from Hinjewadi Phase 3 [Maan Gaon] to Bhosari, running almost entirely along the Wakad Chowk-Nashik Phata Corridor.
  • All buses heading for Hinjewadi use the BRTS corridor from Mankar Chowk to Wakad Chowk, where land is still required to build a bus lane for the last half kilometre.
  • A new BRTS Terminal has been built at Bhosari under the flyover, similar to the one at Kiwale.
Bhosari Bus Terminal
Bhosari Bus Terminal. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishan, CC-BY-SA 4.0 International, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

Nothing significant has happened on the Nagar Road corridor under PMC and Kalewadi to Empire Estate and Nigdi to Dapodi corridors under PCMC barring the construction of the Nigdi Bhakti Shakti terminal.

However, a lot of new kinks need to be ironed out in this system, and it is crucial that it is done before any damage happens.

The GPS-based Control Unit for the Stop Information System on the Rainbow BRTS.
The GPS-based Control Unit for the Stop Information System on the Rainbow BRTS. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishnan, CC-BY-SA 4.0 International, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

The Major problem is the Mixed-Use BRTS and non BRTS sections, most prominent along the Wakad to Nashik Phata corridor. Vajra 6 runs as a non-BRTS bus from Hinjewadi Phase 3 till Wakad Chowk from where it takes the BRTS till Mankar Chowk. From here, it gets into Kaspate Wasti and then gets on to the BRTS corridor at Kalewadi Phata where it stays till Nashik Phata, after which it runs as a regular service till Bhosari Terminal which is a BRTS terminal. This Regular-BRTS-Regular-BRTS-Regular-BRTS system is confusing, for both the passenger as well the driver. It is dangerous for the latter, as he has to go Left-Right-Left-Right while opening the door. Several buses have opened the BRTS doors in a non BRTS area while in motion.

The system needs a bit of automation, which would ideally be a little tricky at this stage given PMPMLs finances. Along with this, the driver needs to be given a single switch for both the Left side doors, and a one for the Right-side doors. There should be an indicator on the ceiling of the bus that can be a simple LED strip on either side. Depending on which side doors are to open, the corresponding LED strip can glow.

Phule Nagar BRTS Station.
Phule Nagar BRTS Station. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishnan, CC-BY-SA 4.0 International, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

PMC vs PCMC

On a comparitive level, PMC and PCMC have slightly different bus stations. The former are visually more appealing, have Footbridges and Subways at several stations, and are overall better to be in.

However, the PCMC section is longer, consists of better planned corridors, of which two [Aundh-Ravet and Nigdi-Dapodi] are massive. The two PMC corridors: Nagar Road from Yerwada towards Wagholi, and Sangamwadi to Vishrantiwadi are not connected to each other. One hopes that the PCMC and PMC find a deal with the Kirkee Cantonment Board to build a corridor via Khadi to connect the BRTS corridor from Holkar Bridge to Harris Bridge, which could ideally connect the Sangamwadi and Dapodi corridors.

Vishrantwadi Terminal

BRTS Buses terminating at Vishrantwadi [like Vajra 4] run along the corridor from Sangamwadi to the Wadi terminal. Barring the terminal, all stations use the BRT doors. The terminal on the other hand, is just a series of bus stops on the left side of the service lane with the last two bus shelters reserved for Rainbow buses. This is rather disappointing, as PMC could have done what PCMC did with the Bhosari and Kiwale terminals.

The Bhosari terminal meanwhile, lacks a platform for buses bound to Pune station [via Vishrantwadi], which continue to terminate under the flyover. Both Bhosari and Kiwali need to be provided with a fence to prevent private vehicles from parking next to the BRTS platform.

BRTS Parking

Since most of the stretch from Kokane Chowk to Nashik Phata didn’t exist prior to the the BRTS, the PCMC has ensure that all commercial buildings along the stretch that lie in the vicinity of a BRTS station have allocated a part of their Ground Floors as Parking Space for Buses. This is great, and helps out massively with the ‘Park and Ride’ concept.

Overall

Overall, PMC scores in the design part, but lags in the execution part. It is highly disappointing to see the only major infrastructure development on Nagar Road taking so much time to be complete.

An interesting thing to note is that all buses running along Vajra 6 make use of the Ashok Leyland buses from the Bhosari depot and not Tata buses.

PMPML's Rainbow gets more advanced! Click To Tweet

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From #MakeInIndia to Made in India

The #MakeInIndia week at Mumbai has been quite an eventful one. A lot has been learned here, and I have understood a lot about various things.

Barring an unfortunate incident involving a fire at the Maharashtra Night cultural program at Girgaum Chowpatty, the event has been a largely successful one.

Among the various exhibits and tidbits I managed to gather over the last two days while covering the event, here are some:

Amitabh Kant, Secretary of Industrial Policy and Promotion stressed on the need to not only Manufacture in India, but also Invent, Innovate and Design in India.

Scania and Volvo had got their new buses.

The Scania was the same bus that had been given to the Nagpur Mahanagar Parivahan Limited. It is India’s first bio-fuel bus, and it’s components are mostly sourced from India itself.

The Volvo was a Hybrid B7RLE/8400 model that NMMT had ordered. Of course, this does mean that BEST’s AC services are going to take a hit, but that is a different story altogether.

Ministers and industrialists spoke about road connectivity, rail connectivity, and inland water transport. While the former two were with regard to connecting ports, the latter was to decongest ports and roads. Now, if one can equate Passenger and Cargo traffic, you could come to the conclusion that a set-up for Freight should ideally work for a Set-up for Passengers as well, with minor modifications. This needs to be explored big time. The ship-building industry has a vast potential in India, and this needs to be explored big time by major cities, especially Mumbai, Surat, Chennai, Kolkata, and Mangalore. Connecting Ports to Hinterland with Rail, Road, and Inland Waterways will be a big boon for people living in the vicinity. It will encourage healthy competition [not the BEST vs NMMT kind, which is toxic] among different modes, and boost trade and productivity.

Amitabh Kant stressed on the need to manufacture more in India. While Services may form bulk of our economy, manufacturing is a must for it to be sustainable. This works in case of transport too. Buses need to be manufactured, trains need to be manufactured. With FDI is the rail sector, especially, high-speed rail, things are certainly set to change. He also mentioned that “Good quality Frugal Eningeering and Smartness must be combined to develop an Indian ability to manufacture”, which is true. One cannot directly apply global standards to India. India has different constraints, as well as requirements, and this must be taken care of.

Overall, I was part of several brilliant sessions, with various ministers, as well as Industrialists being part of there. I also, saw a lot of the exhibitions in vicinity.

Now, for other things:

The Fire

The fire that broke out at the Stage during the Maharashtra Night cultural programme at Girgaum Chowpatti was a rather unfortunate one. It was a stray firework and of course, the event company must be penalised. It was an unfortunate event and the ever-awesome Mumbai Fire Brigade rushed to the spot in no time and had the fire under control with no casualties. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis himself stayed back till the end of the rescue operation to ensure that all had been led to safety. What peeves me off is that while not only did political parties try and gain political mileage out of this, but certain people went to the extent of calling it “Fake In India”, mocking the entire event, and making fun of a calamity, by way of which, they insulted the work done by the Firemen, as well as the Organisers of the entire event [not just the Cultural Programme].

The Auto Strike

Auto-Walas chose the wrong week to strike. Auto drivers across the city decided to strike  on Monday 15th February in a protest against cab aggregators and illegal buses in the city as well as raised fares for issuing auto permits. However, BEST saved the day. BEST ran close to 90 extra services, ferrying 12 million people more on that day than the previous, and earning ₹5.2crore, which is ₹73lakh more than normal on that single day. However, BEST should have been running extra services to BKC, both Double-Deckers as well as special AC buses on that day, keeping the Make In India program in mind. Along with this, AC services should have been running on an hourly basis in and around BKC for the week. The strike didn’t impact NMMT or TMT much however, as it was within Mumbai city limits.

Other Observations

Nagpur Mahanagar Parivahan Limited [NMPL]'s Scania biofuel bus.
Nagpur Mahanagar Parivahan Limited [NMPL]’s Scania biofuel bus. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishnan, CC-BY-SA 4.0 International, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

The Scania Citybus that NMPL recieved in 2014 was present. The bus runs on an Ethanol based blend and is both eco-friendly as well as fuel efficient. The bus went to Nagpur because the Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari hails from Nagpur. One hopes that with MSRTC inducting Scanias into its fleet, BEST too would get this.

NMMT's Volvo Hybrid Bus.
NMMT’s Volvo Hybrid Bus. Image Copyright Srikanth Ramakrishnan, CC BY SA 4.0 International, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

The new Volvo Hybrid bus that has been launched on the 8400 platform was on display. NMMT has purchased 5 of these buses that run on Diesel-CNG and this is definitely going to take a toll on BEST.

An airconditioned minivan built by Force Motors.
An airconditioned minivan built by Force Motors. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishnan, CC BY SA 4.0 International, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

Force Motors had on display, a minivan. This minivan seemed very comfortable, and reasonable luxurious. Personally, I believe it can be used as a Feeder service to the Metro.

Bajaj Qute.
Bajaj Qute. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishnan, CC BY SA 4.0 International, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

Bajaj’s Quadricycle, the Qute was also present there. The Qute can actually be used as an alternative for auto-rickshaws, or maybe be the Kaali-Peeli vs Cool Cab type.

And, the bonus:

BEML 205 Ton Dumper.
BEML 205 Ton Dumper. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishnan, CC BY SA 4.0 International, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

The mammoth 205-ton dumper that Bharat Earth Movers Limited [BEML] built for mining purposes was also there.

Other observations and quotes:

  • In the food court, Falafels was using a Balaji Ticketing machine that Trimax uses for BEST and MSRTC.
  • Sadhguruji of the Isha Yoga Foundation was present, and made a few inspiring statements:
  1. True design unlocks better thinking, better insights, better products & better humans.
  2. Design should be used for promoting & leveraging towards sustainable growth for one and all.
  • Amitabh Kant of the Niti Aayog, too had a lot of motivating statements:
  1. Design is important in manufacturing & improving products. India will be providing solutions. to 6-7 billion people in the world with design.
  2. Challenge is to make urbanization sustainable. Compact cities, connectivity, sanitation, safety depends on design & innovation.
  3. India must be ready for smart, frugal innovation.

Overall, #MakeInIndia week was brilliant. It was a brilliant experience, and one that would last a lifetime.

Here is a Robot that was programmed to pick up objects:

Robotics #MakeInIndia

A video posted by Kaboom-wala (@rsrikanth05) on

 

For those interested:

I’m a freelance Digital Media Marketing consultant. I was hired to cover the #MakeInIndia week on Social Media, and prior to this, I was part of CII’s Partnership Summit in Visakhapatnam in January 2016. Should you want to engage with me and my associates, please drop in a line at  bestpedia[at]gmail[dot]com.

If you are sharing this post on Twitter, please do consider Retweeting the tweet below; it was RT’ed by Amitabh Kant himself.

 

Highlights of the Transport sector from #MakeInIndia week. Click To Tweet

 

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