Wednesday , 30 September 2020

Panel Discussion Reinventing Public Transport

With the new emerging technology how do we look at the entire range from two-wheeler, three-wheeler & fourwheeler as a taxi to small bus, big bus & a bigger bus and a metro? How can they all merge in a continuum kind of system? I think if you don’t look at it that way, we would have a much bigger problem in the time to come. We do have some clues if we look at Transport for London (TFL)

Prof HM Shivanand Swamy

There are multiple ways to service people and one shoe fitting everybody is not possible. We have been using same size of buses, same scheduling, same frequency for the last 70 years and we are not changing that in a fear that if we change, everything will collapse.

“I believe that first right of refusal to be given to STUs; if they are unable to start that kind of services then that should be given to private operators. And we must forget about this operatorfocussed planning whether that operator is public or private it has to be neutral. A body or city or government needs to look at public transport as a transport which is on sharing basis and which is for everybody; whoever runs it really does not matter as long as that service has quality, safety and security.

“Talking about integration of data. I can refer to Delhi Metro. Buses are owned by Delhi Metro. We operate those buses, our data is not integrated, we do not have opportunity to stand next to a railway station’s platform and it is their own service. There is no efforts to see that passengers are seamlessly transferred form one mode to another. So, integration is very difficult to happen.”

Prof Swamy said that UMTA has to be a planner in terms of strategy planning — what kind of systems one  would like to have in a city for today, tomorrow and day after, and that is one part of it. Number two, UMTA would have a greater role, a significant role as an integrator, integrating land use transport, transport modes and information. Number three, UMTA has to perform the role of a regulator, controlling the entry-exits of multiple systems. Number four, it would have to be a financier, it would have to have certain roles in terms of generation of resources and distributing them at certain level, maybe from the government and maybe from the department of land or transportation All these are strategic roles whereas there won’t be tactical roles in terms of multimodal interchange. In fact, Surat has three different systems, BRT, City Bus and HMC; all of them have a single ticket already and have physical integration. Those tactical roles can happen without UMTA. Now there are plans to integrate autorickshaws into the system as part of the whole process. This process of the integration would have to happen with or without UMTA; we don’t have to wait for UMTA and that is an important point which we must think about.

The key issue has specifically been around how we justify the funding for large projects and why not putting the fund on smaller projects that can be more revenue generating as well. As the large projects are not being coherently planned, we are not sure if the end users are benefited. If you talk about the sea-link, the sea-link is only going to be used by the urban elite public. However, there has not been any framework to bring in the funding for that project from the urban elite.

Rushabh Shah

We need to look at mobility as a service stated Proff Swamy, “When you look at origin and the destination of a mode, let us understand how it works rather than whether it is provided by public or private or it is a part of a travel trip. The last point one would like to emphasize is that the hurdle in this whole process is the involvement of multiple agencies.”

Adding to the challenges Patwardhan said, “India does not have a Transport Act; what we have is Motor Vehicle Act; so pedestrians, NMT, railways, everything works under different acts. So, we need to have a transport act and if that comes into effect UMTA will automatically come to effect.”

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