Building Capacities in Public Transport
November 11, 2013 | New Delhi
On October 28, 2013, Amit Bhatt of EMBARQ India was invited to participate as a guest speaker in the National Seminar on “Best Practice in the Management of State Transport Undertakings (STU)” at Guwahati. About 50 senior officers including 7 managing directors of various STUs participated in the seminar that was organised by Central Institute of Road Transport, Pune and sponsored by Association of State Road Transport Undertakings (ASRTU) under the aegis of Ministry Road Transport & Highways, Government of India.
The seminar was first in a series of four seminars organised by ASRTU with an objective to encourage peer to peer learning among STUs. Amit Bhatt presented the derails of EMBARQ India Bus Karo Plus program under the “Capacity building initiatives in Public Transport” session. EMBARQ India's Bus Karo Plus program was identified as the best practice of capacity building by ASRTU. In his presentation, Amit pointed out until a few years ago, only 15 of 38 cities with populations over 1 million had formal public transport services. Realising the need to rectify this situation, the Indian government created national policies and awarded large financial incentives to encourage cities to design and implement city bus systems and other sustainable transport solutions. The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) initiated a bus procurement program under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM), under which 15,000 buses were given to about 61 JnNURM cities at an approximate cost of INR 5,000 crores.
Traditionally, with a few exceptions, city bus operating companies have been public agencies run by State Transport Corporations but in the smaller cities and towns, the city bus services have been provided by private agencies and often the most of these agencies faced with problems of institutional capacity and service quality and there is no program to address these issues.
EMBARQ India recognized this capacity gap, and developed a comprehensive program to provide knowledge and technical expertise to cities, and facilitate discussion and knowledge sharing between the cities. As a first step, EMBARQ India developed Bus Karo, a guidebook on bus planning and operations. This guidebook has been used to conduct training workshops for practitioners, academics and policy makers. The workshops have been well received and there has been demand for more such trainings and capacity building activities with greater levels of detail and intensity.
In order to further support this initiative, EMBARQ India working with Fedex developed the Bus Karo Plus program which is designed as a best practice and peer learning network for public transport providers in Indian cities. The objective of the program is to encourage high-quality bus systems that will help retain existing mode shares and further increase public transport ridership in Indian cities. The project is expected to impact more than 150 million people across the chosen cities.
Amit congratulated the organisers for modelling their program around the Bus Karo Plus program which is now under the third year of its implementation and has seen phenomenal response from various stakehodlers.