The second International Association of Public Transport (UITP) India bus seminar held in New Delhi on March 29-30 in association with Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd. (DIMTS) turned out to be a grand success. The two-day seminar that attracted delegates from across the globe and from different organisations in India, including public transport undertakings, State Government departments and manufacturing industries, explored how buses can improve livability in cities.
In his address, Mr. R.K. Kataria, Vice President, Association of State Road Transport Undertakings (ASRTU), and Managing Director, Karnataka State Road Transport Undertakings (KSRTC), observed: “Bus, as a mode of transport is an important connecting point. State Transport Undertakings (STUs) roughly own 170,000 buses and carry around seven crore passengers per day, i.e., three times more than the Indian Railways. We cater to the most remote areas in the country. But the key issue is whether we are able to provide adequate and efficient transport facilities in the remote areas of this country. Moreover, there is a shift from private transport to public transport in developed and Asian countries like Singapore, Korea, etc. We have to focus on this shift, and for that we need to find out the missing links.”
Dr. Ekroop Kaur, Chairperson, UITP India Board, and Managing Director, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), highlighting the achievements of UITP, said: “No matter whatever the mode, buses shall always be the backbone and bulk of the people would continue to use it. So the focus of UITP in India is also on the bus segment and, with ASTRU as a member of UITP, this segment will always get the prominence it deserves. Going forward, we will organize more training programs for buses and metro sectors. We will be bringing in international expertise which will help the members who attend these programs. We can also learn a lot from European countries and implement it here partly if not completely”.
In his keynote address, Mr. K.K. Sharma, Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi, emphasized that there is a need for appropriate policies to promote buses and public transport overall. “There are 7,000 buses operating in Delhi. These buses carry 2.5 million passengers a day. The Government is planning to induct 3,000 more buses this year, out of which 1,000 buses will be procured by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), 1,000 buses will be inducted under the cluster scheme and 1,000 buses will be inducted under the Premium Bus Service by allowing new players to operate the service.”
Mr. Jerome Pourbaix, Head of Policy and Outreach, UITP Brussels, shared his experiences and advocated investment in public transport. He stated: “The public transport creates value for citizens, businesses and the Government for creating competitive alternative. It contributes to city competitiveness and also vehicular strength of that city. It also creates human capital, global appeal and quality of life. It allows better connectivity and access to productive jobs and has a bigger impact at the macroeconomic level on the economic development of that city. This physical activity due to travel in public transport results in better health, thus there is less expense on public health.”