Planning for public transport
By Manish Dutta Pandey October 28, 2013 | Bangalore
Srikanth Sastry and Manish Dutta Pandey associates at EMBARQ India presented at a workshop reviwing city bus services in North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC), and further planning bus transit. Their presentation focussed on planning for Public Transport at the NEKRTC central office in Gulbarga. The workshop was a platform to help the officers of NEKRTC to understand the processes of route and service planning. EMBARQ India which assists public transport officials through the Bus Karo Plus programme was invited to present at the workshop which was preceded over by Prof. Shivanand Swamy, Director CEPT University. In October 2013, The Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India released the second round of funding under JnNURM for completely financing buses for urban centers See here. While the first round of funding was restricted to cities with populations of over 1 million, the new funding is open to all cities and states in India. This provides an opportunity for smaller cities such as Gulbarga to improve or start urban bus services with direct assistance from the central government. NEKRTC which is the public transport operator in North East Karnataka currently operates city bus services in 8 towns/cities in their jurisdiction. The largest of these towns/cities is Gulbarga with a population of 5.3 lakh. Successful operation of public transport in small cities requires more careful planning of operations. NEKRTC has been successful and are operating under profit in some of these cities. At the same time there is a large scope for improvement and also augmentation of services. In order to evaluate the existing services and also plan future operations, NEKRTC invited EMBARQ India and Prof Swamy to a workshop at their central office in Gulbarga. In most small cities, auto-rickshaws are the primary mode of public transport. While they offer good alternative to private modes, the fact that they do not operate to a schedule and are usually over crowded is an opportunity to provide organized public transport. EMBARQ India presented on the topics of identifying the demand, planning a city wide network and operating them. Prof. Swamy rightly pointed out that auto-rickshaws play a key role even in the presence of organized public transport – which is as a feeder to public transport, and an alternative to persons requiring door to door service. A successful public transport network integrates these various modes and also requires good infrastructure – terminals, interchanges and depots.