UITP India Office, in collaboration with, BOCI India organised session on "International Best Practices in Operations, Maintenance & Management" on 29 July 2017 at Prawaas 2017 in Navi Mumbai. The session was designed to bring national and international experts to share their experience in the area of operations, maintenance and management. There were speakers representing Non-profit Organisation (UITP and BOCI), Manufacturers (Alexander Dennis and Scania), Operators (City Services and Emirates Transport), Technology Providers (Trapeze and Lumiplan), and OEMs (Allison Transmission). 

Indian Bus Market has changed in last 10 years and it expected to witness more reforms in coming 10 years. It is important that all stakeholders should come together to create sustainable bus-based public transport system. It is equally important to learn from international experience and use the knowledge to save resources

Some of the key trends highlighted by Mr. Jaspal Singh from UITP India Office includes electrification of bus fleet, alternative fuel, use of ITS (including Planning and Scheduling), account based payment solution for ticketing and predictive maintenance. Further, the representative showcased some good case studies including

a) On-demand bus service in Singapore

b) Dynamic scheduling in Hong Kong 

c) Passenger information system in London

d) Integrated ticketing solution 

Mr. Salil Gupta from Allison Transmission shared his experience about the importance of total cost of ownership by improving reliability, reducing maintenance and improving fuel economy. Internationally, most of bus fleet owners, both inter and intra-city, are switching to automatic transmission. This has resulted into reduction in accidents and breakdowns. Further, the drivers also feel comfortable and can achieve better fuel efficiency. 

Mr. Ashwani Handoo from Trapeze India shared some of the global case studies on the use of planning and scheduling system by bus operators. ITS system is backbone of the bus operation and should be seen as investment rather than expenditure for any organisation. Planning and scheduling system can help to optimise the network and resources for the bus operators. Further, bus operators should introduce backend system to manage all critical functions including maintenance and crew management. Mr. Handoo highlighted that the average life of bus globally is 20-25 years and mechanic bus ratio is 1:8 to 1:12.

Mr. David Moszkowics from Lumiplan ITS also shared their experience in India and outside in the area of planning and scheduling. The company has completed project in Mysore, and currently working in Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. With the help of new ITS system, the city of Ahmedabad has achieved total saving of 7.3% (INR 6.1 million per month) by optimising schedule and improving reliability. The authority managed to create more reliable schedule on the basis of actual running time of the buses. This creates win-win situation for both authority and the operator. 

Mr. Stefan Baguette from Alexander Dennis Ltd presented the case study on electrification of bus operation in London. This was one of the largest electric bus projects outside mainland China. Go-Ahead London introduced 51 fully electric buses manufactured by Alexander Dennis. This was the case of first depot conversion from Diesel to Electric. The operator installed substations and charging infrastructure in the depot to charge the buses. The operators in London will introduce around 100 fully electric buses in next 12 months. 

Alexander Mastrovito from Scania Asia & Oceania shared its experience on alternative and clean fuel options. Scania is currently operating a fleet of buses on bio-ethanol in Nagpur. He emphasised that it is important to increase availability and feasibility of alternative fuel to reduce dependence on fossil fuel. Electric bus is cleaner technology but air-conditioning is still a big challenge as it requires high power consumption. There is scope for co-existence alternative fuel, along with, electric bus technology.

The session ended with special thanks to Chair - Mr. Anurag Agarwal, State - Chairman, BOCI, who manage the session, as well as, deliberated some key points with the panel.