Experts Meet to Plan New Bus Service for Gurgaon
“When we plan a city, the plans are usually restricted to land-use. But we need to move beyond land-use. What’s more important is how to move people”, said Vikas Gupta (IAS) Municipal Commissioner, Gurgaon speaking at the opening session of Talking Transit, highlighting the importance of public transport within city planning. He also added that it is important to build sensitivity around what is good, sustainable transport in order to increase ridership and reduce dependence on private vehicles.
Talking Transit, EMBARQ India’s bi-annual workshop for city bus transport agencies, was held on 2-3 July 2015, bringing together national experts to design a new bus service for the city of Gurgaon. The workshop was held in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG), and was attended by close to 80 people from Mumbai, Bangalore, Bhopal, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Pune, Chandigarh, and Indore. As a result of the workshop, the city administration committed to setting up a special agency to roll out a new bus service for Gurgaon. When implemented, this bus service will benefit lakhs of people who currently depend on auto-rickshaws or skeletal bus services run by the state of Haryana for public transport.
There was a discussion around the institutional set up for the special agency, which would best suit the city. Most experts were of the opinion that a CEO should be appointed to lead the agency. “Instead of MCG operating the bus service, we feel a private CEO who has knowledge and expertise on the subject should be appointed. MCG will provide infrastructure and maintenance” said Vivek Kalia, Joint Commissioner, MCG
Former Deputy Commission, Gurgaon, Rajendra Kataria (IAS) spoke from his experience in the city administration and drew examples from cities in Karnataka where he now leads the state transport agency, KSRTC. Using the example of Mysore, he said, “Mysore has 10 lakh people, and we run over 400 buses. But people don’t prefer bus travel because they’re unsure of the timings and schedules. We need to create systems that attract, rather than discourage users. The brand image of a city bus system should also be considered”. Kataria highlighted Mysore’s use of advanced ITS systems for monitoring and operational evaluation that has resulted in improved services and increased ridership.
Over the course of two days, workshop participants debated the various challenges and opportunities involved in establishing a reliable and convenient public bus network for the city, drawing on examples from bus services in cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and others. Through group activities, participants worked out viable solutions for Gurgaon to design and implement a modern city bus service.
Expertise at the event was provided by EMBARQ through presentations, interactive discussions, and group activities. Technical aspects such as route planning, monitoring systems, support infrastructure, and financial sustainability was discussed in detail in the context of Gurgaon.
Last year, EMBARQ India published the second part of its bus operations guidebook series entitled ‘Bus Karo 2.0: Case Studies from India’ which outlined significant advancements in bus transport in India. The guide includes examples of pilot implementations and case studies to assess the successes and challenges of projects around the country, and will be a key resource at the event.
The workshop was part of EMBARQ’s Talking Transit series, a part of the Bus Karo initiative. Bus Karo aims to facilitate a peer-to-peer network that encourages shared learning between city bus agencies from around the country.
Read a recap of the event on Storify.