GURGAON PAVES THE WAY TO ALLOW ON-DEMAND BUS TRANSPORT IN INDIA

Gurgaon is one of the most innovative transport cities in India. The city has a metro network, bus service, ride-sharing, bike-taxi, on-demand bus service and upcoming pod taxi project. Most of the cities in India are facing challenges from increasing traffic and congestion. There is a need to adopt new innovative ideas to restrict the demand for private vehicles.

On-demand bus service is one of the popular service in the city. However, there were some regulatory issues owning to lack of clear guidelines for on-demand bus service. The service is popular among regular commuters but could not able to offer full service owing to restriction from State Transport Authority. In Gurgaon, transport department seized the buses as they did not fall in the ambit of Haryana Stage Carriage Permit Act 1988, 1993, 2001, 2004 and 2013.

Government of Delhi issued policy guidelines for “App based Premium Bus Services” in May 2016 but withdrew the same later. Delhi scheme allowed the contract carriage buses to operate on city routes. This caused a major setback to this sector. However, the recent initiative of the Haryana Government can be a good example for other cities or states as an interim measure.

The Haryana government approved a Stage Carriage Permit Scheme-2017 under which 452 intra-state routes will be given to private operators in the state in July 2017. Under the scheme, any state transport undertaking, person or society, firm and company in Haryana would be eligible to apply for a permit on intra-state routes. The permits will be granted as per the terms and conditions fixed by the state government. These will be granted to an applicant subject to the clearance of dues in respect of previous permits.

This initiative allowed the private players to apply for permits under the stage carriage rule. In long term, there is need to adopt a policy to remove distinction between stage carriage and contract carriage buses. The government should allow private entities to provide mobility services under defined service parameters.

To read more about regulatory scenerio - Commuter Shuttle buses Look up - Commercial Vehicle