Improve Services, Increase Ridership
By Ramya Swayamprakash Chandigarh | August 25, 2014
EMBARQ India has partnered with the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) and the Chandigarh Administration to rationalise bus routes in the Chandigarh-Panchkula-Mohali tri-city area. Chandigarh, India’s first planned city, along with Mohali and Panchkula form a tri-city area with a combined population of over 1.1 million. Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) operates city bus services in the tri-city as well as suburban and long route buses.
After a detailed study of the routes on the corridor, a new high-frequency bus route was recommended, which resulted in an 8% increase in ridership and is expected to increase further.
Bus transport in Chandigarh accounts for nearly 15% of the city’s mode share. The public bus transport agency was keen to improve services for existing passengers as well as increase ridership. To that end, in December 2013, 400 buses were sanctioned to the city by the Ministry of Urban Development under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM).
CTU approached EMBARQ India in September 2013 to improve the reliability and efficiency of the bus services. Prior to the implementation of EMBARQ India’s recommendations, CTU operated 517 buses on more than 100 routes. There were 69 urban routes on a destination-based service, which led to infrequent services along the bus corridors. After several meetings with the Transport Secretary, Transport Director and other CTU officials, it was mutually agreed to study the bus routes plying on the 15.5 km Sarangpur barrier-ISBT Panchkula stretch on Madhya Marg. This corridor had 95 buses operating along 22 routes, with significant overlaps.
Primary surveys were conducted to gather key information like cycle time of buses, fare collected, as well as user information like travel patterns, waiting times at bus stops, and other details.
It was found that overlapping bus routes and a small fleet size resulted in passengers having to wait up to 20 minutes at bus stops. In order to make the system more efficient, a new bus route – PGI Hospital to Manimajra via ISBT 17 was recommended with a frequency of 10 minutes. This pilot route has now been in operation for over a month and has witnessed an average increase of 40 passengers per bus per day. With the success of this pilot, the CTU plans on implementing this methodology on other key routes as well.