The future is here. The Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transport and Urban Planning (CiSTUP) at the Indian Institute of Science had evaluated the BBMP's (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike's) proposal to install the pod taxi system in Bengaluru and it has come out with a favourable report.
And so, this will probably make Bengaluru the first city in the world to use pod taxis for public transport.
In its evaluation report submitted to BBMP, it has concluded that, “While IISC recommends the PRT (personal rapid transit) system implementation on pilot basis, it is important to consider (and thoroughly evaluate) the mobility, structural, geotechnical and safety aspects identified in this report for the pilot implementation as this would complement the existing public transport,“ reported the Times of India.
Six stretches have been identified for the phased implementation of PRT, totalling up to 35.5 km.
Only five cities in the world have an operational personal rapid transit system and Bengaluru could be the sixth.
“For an urban conglomerate like Bengaluru, not one system of public transportation would be able to satisfy the ever-growing needs of mobility. Different public transportation systems complementing each other would help in alleviating the congestion problems,” read the report.
BBMP hopes to build the infrastructure at Rs 50 crore per km and has asked the bidders to finance the project themselves; it will be built under the “design, build, finance, operate and transfer system“. The concession period will be for 20 years.
However, why can the BBMP not use the funds or call for bidders to improve Bengaluru’s pothole-ridden roads. Five people lost their lives in a span of ten days in the month of October alone to these deadly potholes. It took a public outcry for the BBMP officials to open their eyes and fill in the potholes.
BBMP's chief engineer, TVCC (Technical Vigilance Cell under Commissioner), Prahallad BS said, “The stretches identified by us are reported as feasible. Currently, the city is in `Level A traffic' condition which means it is worst in terms of last mile destination. These types of systems will help us give faster connectivity,” reported Times of India.
Does this not tell you the pathetic condition of the roads that adds to the traffic snarls in the city?
BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said: “The report has said that the project is feasible. We will implement the project soon; it does not require too much time like Metro. The city needs it to provide last mile connectivity.”
BBMP had called for tenders for the pod taxi system in May. JPODS Inc (which claims to be `building on the success of PRT system of Morgantown, West Virginia'), Ultra Fairwood (which bagged a contract for a PRT system in Ajman, UAE in June) and SkyTran (which is in the process of “developing a patented PRT system“ and expects to build its “first commercial systems in Israel, France and India“ once the system is developed) had bid for the BBMP's offer of constructing elevated cable-car systems on five stretches. Pod taxis on these five stretches which have a combined length of 28.9 km (Trinity Circle to Leela Palace; Leela Palace to Marathahalli Junction; Marathahalli Jn to EPIP Graphite India Road; Trinity Circle to Koramangala HSR Layout; and Jayanagar 5th Block to JP Nagar 6th Phase) will serve as feeder to the Metro.