Sri Lanka drops Bus Rapid Transport proposal from Megapolis

Bus Rapid Transport

June 02, 2016 (LBO) – The transport committee of Sri Lanka’s Western Megapolis has dropped an earlier proposal to introduce a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system due to reasons including inability to add additional bus lanes.

The decision has been reached after analyzing a feasibility study by Moratuwa University which shows that the proposed BRT on Galle Road, for instance, will not be sustainable beyond 2025.

Demand calculated by University of Moratuwa for 2025 on the Galle Road corridor is around 13,380 passengers per hour per direction in the system. “Hence it is needed to introduce new mode in 2025 to provide the adequate service for the public,” the Transport Team of the Megapolis Project Team, said in its report.

A rapid transit system should evolve as a network, not on one or two corridors, the report adds.

“In the Galle Road corridor 50% of the passengers starting their journey from Panadura , Moratuwa, Rathmalana , Mount Lavinia & Dehiwela leave the corridor by the time they reach the CMC limit in Wellawatte. And only 10% reach Fort. Therefore unless there is continuity of the same technology the expected transfer from other modes such as car, motor cycle and three wheelers will be minimum.”

“If new LRT system to be introduced by 2025, it is a waste of money to start a new system which will be failed in 10 years time. Rather than introducing two different modes it is recommended to introduce high capacity mode at the initial stage which will sustain even after year 2035.”

The committee said the report done by the university is an inconclusive one which would require review from an independently appointed committee or an organization.

Speaking at a seminar conducted by Verite Research, Economist Lalithasiri Gunaruwan charged the transport committee for dropping the BRT without carrying out a proper feasibility study.

“The committee itself says the BRT study is an incomplete one. Why can’t they do a proper feasibility study before dropping it,” Gunaruwan questioned.

“After conducting a proper study, then you can select the least cost option by looking at the numbers.”

However, Dimantha De Silva, team leader of transport committee said prior to developing transport proposals several study reports were analyzed such as the ComTrans Urban Transport Master Plan and the BRT study on Galle Road done by University of Moratuwa.

“The best mode of transport for RTS was selected after several discussions and thorough analysis on different modes,” De Silva said.

“As highlighted in the study, BRT has issues such as land acquiring issues, networking issues, demand and capacity issues.”

The final Megapolis transport plan has focused on incorporating existing buses with bus modernization to provide buses with high level of service with necessary infrastructure development.

It includes improved and modernized railway, RTS such as Light Rapid Transit (LRT) and Monorail along with new transport modes such as inland water transport.

Read Full Report: Why BRT was not considered in the Megapolis Proposal

Related: Decisions under Sri Lanka’s Megapolis are ad-hoc: Prof Kumarage

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