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Sustainable public transport system II

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BusPublic Transport

First pass at adding to blrpraj's document as promised. Additions are in a different font ("Arial") and colour (blue); no modifications or deletions. Comments are welcome. Maybe better to call it sustainable public road transport sytem as the greater enphasis is on those aspects. Some additions may seem "low" level but have been included as they affect the majority of the users and/or praja.

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SUSTAINABLE PUBLIC TRANSPORATION SYSTEM.doc462.5 KB

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s_yajaman's picture

Goals of a good public transportation system

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My own thinking is that only public transportation systems are sustainable given our growing cities.  So sustainable public transport might be a redundant phrase :)

For me the goals of a good public transport system would be as follows

a. Accessibility - a person should have to walk/cycle/use private transport for no more than X m to reach a public transport facility.  X can be 500m or whatever

b. Cost - should be competitive end to end with a motorbike.  Two persons should find it cheaper to take a bus than share a motorbike.  3 persons should find it cheaper to take a bus than a car.  Else why would I leave my car behind.  Now congestion charges are one way of making sure of this.

c. Speed - we should be able to average 20-22 kmph end to end (combination of walk, bus, Metro)

d. Safety - both users and non-users should not fear risk to life and limb.  We could also include protection from the elements in this.

e. Seamless transfer from one mode to another.  Walk to bus, bus to bus, bus to Metro.  Means good interchange facilities around big Metro stations, good pavements.

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

n's picture

Good points - probably need book than attachment

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.. as it was pointed out that attachments are seldom read through as evidenced by poor participation here. Also, book is editable better by all praja. Awaiting promised fixing of gyan :-). The title stayed the same as the original author (strangely silent) is blrpraj. Agree that public transportation themselves are a sustainable mode of transportation among the different modes; however, the goal is to ensure that they stay sustainable and provide decent service for an ever-increasing population. Some of your issues have been indicated in the doc (with a little different verbiage).

Maybe all road public transportation threads (this one, bus boards, routing, BIG10, geometry/alignment, BMTC website etc.) can be rolled into one main category called Road Transportation (under broader Transportation category) with appropriate subcategories for each of the topics discussed. Metro (Phase I tracking, Phase II etc. as subcategories), monorail (alignment), HSRL (requirement, cost), traffic violations (problems, enforcement), railways (density, routing) can be 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th broad categories under Transportation. The "high" level goals of seamless connectivity, public convenience (shelters, disabled-friendly etc.), safety and sustainability can be gradually added to the doc for all public modes. Needs a little more consensus / admin guidance. *end of off-topic digression ;-) *


blrpraj's picture

@srivathsaGood points in

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@srivathsa

Good points in your post. I am yet to take a complete look at your additions in the attached document. But, a respone to one of your comments -

Your comment -

"Two persons should find it cheaper to take a bus than share a                       motorbike.  3 persons should //find it cheaper to take a bus than a car.        Else why would I leave my car behind.  Now congestion charges are one  way of making sure of this."

My Answer -

One should not evaluate only in terms of monetary operating costs, let's say if it costs 3 persons 100Rs for an office commute by sharing a private car (fuel+maintenance+driver cost etc)but costs Rs 120 or 130 for the same 3 people for the same commute; those 3 persons will take public transport if it can provide significant time savings to the order of reducing the commute time by let's say 50% in airconditioned premium comfort. It is acually equivalent to being driven around in an air conditioned chauffer driven car, only difference being that there are 30 or 35 other people travelling in the same vehicle. Now imagine the wonders that could be done if this premimum bus is moving along at 100kmph on dedicated busways as outlined in the document, segrefated from the local non-PT traffic plying on clogged roads. I am sure there would be an overwhelming majority who would abandon their cars voluntarily in favour of faster transport provided that it is comfortable (and that is where the dependable&predictable  tailor made custom transport services provided on a common underlying infrastructure comes into play as  outlined in the document).

The current problem of  the approach in development is that private vehicle owners are encouraged by widening of roads, building high speed roadways like the NICE road, building flyovers  etc. only to land up with clogged roads in a few months with private as well as PT ending up suffering on the same clogged roads.

s_yajaman's picture

I agree - just putting the what before the how

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Was just trying to put some parameters by which we should measure public transport.  Once we have these measures or parameters we then try to get to the how of it, which is what your document lays out.

I lived 6 years in Singapore and did not own a car.  Public transport was quick, accessible, safe, inexpensive and had seamless transfers from bus to train and train to bus.  Pedestrian facilities are out of this world - one can walk in peace inspite of that tropical heat.   Why would I bother to own a car and pay insurance, parking, congestion charges.  If I badly needed one I could take a taxi or rent a car for the weekend.

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Naveen's picture

BRT appears to have been adandonned

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this premimum bus is moving along at 100kmph on dedicated busways

I think you are right - however, BRT appears to have been abandonned by the authorities for bangalore since they cite insufficient street widths. For this reason, they have embarked on exclusive track rail systems, which become additions to already existing street based systems. Further, weaning people away from private transport requires more than just provision of fast PTs such as BRT. Market dynamics come into play - strong disincentives such as much higher cost/s and longer transit times are vital. The last mile question is also difficult to address when fast PTs are designed. Metro, with feeder bus services is the chosen way by the authorities.

blrpraj's picture

correct

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@srivathsa

"Was just trying to put some parameters by which we should measure public transport.  Once we have these measures or parameters we then try to get to the how of it, which is what your document lays out."

Thanks for the clarification

"I lived 6 years in Singapore and did not own a car.  Public transport was quick, accessible, safe, inexpensive and had seamless transfers from bus to train and train to bus.  Pedestrian facilities are out of this world - one can walk in peace inspite of that tropical heat.   Why would I bother to own a car and pay insurance, parking, congestion charges.  If I badly needed one I could take a taxi or rent a car for the weekend."

Excellent! I visited San Francisco this Monday on business. The thought of renting a car did not cross my mind thanks to the seamless public transportation network there. I hopped on to the rapid transit metro at the airport and then walked to my final destination from the station in the city. On my return leg i took a shuttle to the train station then got off from the train at the airport. Such seamless connectivity is what caused people to automaticaly opt for public transport.  Likewise to your experience in Singapore, the pedestrian facilities in San Franciso are also excellent to be able to walk in peace without being mowed down by an automobile on the loose!!(oops..i forgot that sidewalks are a rare phenomenon in Bangalore and are virtually extinct, we might perhaps have to take our kids to the museum in Bangalore to show what sidewalks are:-) ).

 

s_yajaman's picture

Good public transport makes a huge difference to a city

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Sometimes I think there is a general conspiracy of automobile makers, malls and governments to keep our sidewalks and other public facilities bad, etc so that their sales keep going up :). 

I am not asking that government ban cars or bikes.  Provide people who don't want to own cars and bikes a decent alternative.  Some people complain that the Metro will not bring down traffic as people will not take it.  Well good luck to them if they still want to suffer traffic jams, etc.  Some of us will keep our car-sized egos aside and climb the Metro and get where we want to.

I used to travel to Bangkok a lot on work.  The distance from the hotel to our office was just 2-3 km.  The taxi used to take anywhere between 30 and 45 mins on a good day.  Then the BTS (sky train) opened.  Time - <10 mins door to door.  Why would I even bother to climb a taxi and then sit and fret or take my car? 

In Singapore one could go out on weekends without that feeling of dread of traffic jams, road rage, parking, indiscipline, etc (that one feels here each time you fasten your seat belt) because of the Metro and the bus service.  I am sure people in Delhi find travel easier and stress free with the Metro now going to Connaught Place and Karol Bagh. 

Srivathsa

 

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

pravn1984's picture

BRT ?

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 "I think you are right - however, BRT appears to have been abandonned by the authorities for bangalore since they cite insufficient street widths"

@ Naveen.

Although BRT seems to have been cancelled in most of the places, i think BRT is still on in ORR.The AGARA, IBLUR flyovers plans still indicate BRT lanes.

Unlike other parts of the city which have insufficient widths there is suffecient width in ORR to have a BRT.However, the question is wheather the capacity of BRT is sufficient to handle the passenger load.  We would defenitely need data to evaluate this.

Also, with regard to the busway section in the document, i think it is too expensive to build a dedicated flyover for bus. If at all we spend so much money  i think it is better  to have a metro.

 

 

blrpraj's picture

@srivathsa - more about footpaths

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@srivathsa

One key measure (or rather a barometric indicator) of how developed a country is in my opinion the quality of footpaths available in the cities; here is an interesting article on the lack of it in India

http://www.macroscan.com/cur/feb09/cur030209footpaths.htm

From the above article this particular sentence caught my eye -

This in turn has given rise to numerous scams around land-grabbing and insider deals, of which that related to Satyam/Maytas is only the latest. Second, both the current state government and the previous one have emphasised the ''beautification'' of the city and the creation of ''world class'' urban infrastructure.
 

He he he, i can't help but laugh, looks like our planners don't know the meaning of either the "world" or "class". Compare that with the clean and organized streets with good pedestrian facilities of one of the BRIC countries..which is Brazil -

http://www.fotosearch.com/bigcomp.asp?path=FSA/FSA017/x17082981.jpg

http://miniver.blogspot.com/2006/01/urban-design-in-rio-de-janeiro.html

Tells how much ahead even Brazil is, I think India cannot be clubbed along with Brazil and China, both of which seem to have superior infrastructure. 

rant off.

s_yajaman's picture

@blrpraj - how about we revive the work with Swabhimana

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Blrpraj,

Agree with you.  All the "great" cities have great walking infrastructure, which fact seems to be lost on our planners.

If you are game, I can revive the work we started with Swabhimana.  We started this off and it died.  I had asked people to collect photos of pavements, but did not get a single picture.  I myself surveyed Brigade Road one day and sent them pictures.  Then some heavy travel started and I also lost the little momentum I had built up.

But if you and a few others are game, I can go back to Mr. Ananda Rao and restart this.  What he needs from us is pictures and specific data on 1-2 km long stretches.

What say? 

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Naveen's picture

Pedestrians - Even rural china not ignored

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These are pictures by the street side in a village some 45km from Guangzhou. Even here, sidewalks & bus shelters are planned & maintained as well, if not better than in many major chinese cities.

Is this a developing country ? One would think that it is a fully "developed" country !

In sharp contrast, we have dirty, pot-holed alleys for roads in our villages, whilst we day-dream of building singapores & shanghais - what a joke !!

 

idontspam's picture

Muddy wastelands

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 In sharp contrast, we have dirty, pot-holed alleys for roads in our villages

Forget villages, inside Bangalore there are areas with mud roads, the surrounding CMC's are only mud roads, dont have to go far, places like Nelamangala and Tumkur are just muddy wastelands.

Simple things we cant take care. Hebbal flyover was built so many moons ago, even today the space in between looks like the sahara desert. 

 

idontspam's picture

BBMP should invest in these

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Vasanth's picture

Travel Between Cities too PT should be opted

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 I feel very sad seeing people loosing their lives in road accidents on the highways, especially 20-40 age range of people who are at their peak of their life. Our highways are not safer by any cost. You have sudden U turns, roads not merging rather joining with T. Travelling on highway with private cars should also be made expensive with toll charges.

blrpraj's picture

taking a leaf out of Chennai's proposed high speed corridors

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I found something interesting on skyscrapercity. Chennai seems to be building elevated high speed corridors

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpost.php?p=37380910&postcount=2

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpost.php?p=37381502&postcount=3

In my opinion one mistake they are making is that they are building  infrastructure that will be used by private vehicles as well. So, guess what, with the current rate of growth of private vehicles, even that infrastructure will get clogged in the near future (and of course exponentially greater noise and air pollution). Bangalore can try to take a similar design and scale it down to just serve public transportation buses/vans (thus hopefully translating into lesser costs than what Chennai is attempting..I am hoping ..because we would require lesser lanes and lesser number of tiers plus hopefully lesser oil bill for the city/state/country since private vehicle usage gets discouraged because infrastructure development favours fast and reliable public transportation ). 

Not convinced about my argument that Chennai's elevated corridors will get clogged in no time? then I would suggest a visit to the Freeway Capital of the world a.k.a congestion city where freeway space gets gobbled up in no time as it gets built with the end result being that nobody goes anywhere during rush hour.

 

Naveen's picture

More roads - more traffic, no doubt

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Blrpraj,

What you state about chennai developing freeways for all traffic with expected exponential growth in traffic is an established fact world-wide. It is well known & understood that more roads & facilities mean more traffic. However, roads are also necessary for some essential uses, but must be charged for use to keep a lid on traffic growth.

Under-charging for road use, free parking, easy availability of finance for vehicle purchase, low fuel price, low subsidies for PTs, inefficient PTs are all reasons why we have this situation in all our cities.

Travel on volvo buses costs 25rs each way for about 10km in bangalore. Here, in Guangzhou /China, the same trip by an air-conditioned bus costs 2 yuans or about 14rs, & it does the journey as fast as a car. Thus, the tendency is to use buses or the metro, rather than a car (two wheelers are banned). Further, there are additional costs for car usgae such as road tolls & parking costs that become higher as you get closer to the CBDs.

Unless we move in this direction, nothing will change & we will continue building road after road.

blrpraj's picture

What you state about chennai

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Naveen

"What you state about chennai developing freeways for all traffic with expected exponential growth in traffic is an established fact world-wide. It is well known & understood that more roads & facilities mean more traffic. However, roads are also necessary for some essential uses, but must be charged for use to keep a lid on traffic growth."

My Response:  You are absolutely correct about it. The reason I highlighted the obvious fact is that we need not follow the same worldwide model of freeway development. Charging for use to keep a lid on traffic growth has also proven ineffective over time since eventually for a large number of people that charge becomes affordable and we will have many users clogging up the toll road. Private vehicle is the most inefficient use of a given surface area of the roadway. I think we need to follow a unique approach of our transportation infrastructure that rewards mass movement of people. The time wastage of let's say 50 or 60 people stuck in a bus in traffic is very bad and we cannot put a price tag or cost on it. What is the use of building a tollway and charge private vehicles for it's usage while we are not addressing the bottlenecks that impede the mass movement of people in a timely fashion?

One approach of rewarding mass movement of people on roads as implemented in the US is provision of carpool lanes; but I haven't advocated that approach because it doesn't suit Indian conditions just because of the impossible task of enforcing it.  Yeah, one way out would be to have our urban freeways built with dedicated bus lanes that are physically separated from the other lanes by concrete barriers.

"Under-charging for road use, free parking, easy availability of finance for vehicle purchase, low fuel price, low subsidies for PTs, inefficient PTs are all reasons why we have this situation in all our cities."

My Response:  First of, the reason that the PT is inefficient is because buses share the same space with other road users and are not rewarded for mass movement of people. They stop at traffic lights and get stuck at traffic jams. Now, the inefficiency of PT will change once Metro comes along, but road based PT will still be inefficient and it will not go away. Road based PT will continue to be there and will act as a complement to the Metro just because of the sheer volume of the population in Bangalore and other Indian cities. Now, since PTs are inefficient, there is no incentive for people to get away from private vehicles and such people will continue to use private vehicles and those who can afford cars can afford toll charges as well unless the toll charges are something exorbitant like Rs 5000 per trip or something like that.

Secondly, as far as under charging goes...what is the correct charge? At some point every body will be in the mind set that the charge cannot be afforded by others..so let me pay the charge on the tollway and zip along..but guess what..everybody will be thinking like everybody else so after some time ..you know what will happen.

"Travel on volvo buses costs 25rs each way for about 10km in bangalore. Here, in Guangzhou /China, the same trip by an air-conditioned bus costs 2 yuans or about 14rs, & it does the journey as fast as a car. Thus, the tendency is to use buses or the metro, rather than a car (two wheelers are banned). Further, there are additional costs for car usgae such as road tolls & parking costs that become higher as you get closer to the CBDs."

My Response:  The tendency to use cars vs PT should not be viewed in monetary costs alone or per trip monetary costs alone. There are various factors, both from a individual perspective as well as a society perspective -

           1) Time savings gained in efficient PT. This is a very significant factor

            2) Risk to life - imagine if we could provide an dependable and time efficient PT we could perhaps get more two wheeler riders off the road. 2 wheelers (and pedestrians) are at the most risk on our roads.

          3) added stress while driving/riding through our roads and the hassles of finding parking. There are studies that show direct correlation between driving stress and heart diease.

          4) added costs of private vehicle operation like insurance, wear and tear, maintenance, depreciation in value, damage due to accidents etc.

idontspam's picture

 Time savings gained in

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 Time savings gained in efficient PT

Generally PT tends to be more reach oriented than speed oriented. The congestion charge point being if you want speed pay for it. The PT point being we can reach you as close as possible and on time, if not better than private transport can, but need not necessarily be faster.

For example, I can reach stockholm central from home in 10 mins without traffic by private transport, worst case 30 mins during peak hour jams. By PT, always 40 mins accurately. Faaaaaar cheaper economically and time bound by PT, because I pay a bomb for parking in the city and then congestion charges everytime I cross a gantry. Never do they prevent you from owning private transport but you will find it economically better to use PT. The best part being, while my car travel might depend on traffic, I can time my PT travel and it is always 40 mins.

But in designing a PT for the Bangalore for the future we have got to decide, What is it that is going to make people go for it? Reach is mandatory. If we say it is not feasible we have lost the war even before it begins. Economically should be cheaper. I am not bothered a little more time as long as it is predictable timings.

s_yajaman's picture

Time savings - not just for one individual...

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IDS,

You can get to Stockholm Central in 10 minutes because there are a million others who went off the roads and to PT.   So someone sacrificed his 30 mins for your benefit :). 

Warning - I am going to ramble a bit.

If you look at the average speed curve (I can't draw it here)

a. With no motorized pvt transport , the only means (other than PT) will be walk and cycle.  Average speed might be 6-10 kmph.  PT can chug along at 30 kmph

b. As motorized pvt transport comes in and upto a limit - average speeds increase to maybe 30-40 kmph.  PT can still chug along quite fine.  [I remember taking 190 in 1986-88 from JB Nagar to National college (~12 km) in 25-30mins or an average of 25 kmph.  Even in the early 90s I could cover BMS to JB Nagar - 14km in 35 mins.  Buses used to be actually punctual.  College would finish at 12:15 on some days.  The bus would invariably come at 12:25.]

c. And then as car numbers start increasing speed will start dropping and also pull down PT speed and therefore they need to be controlled.  Else it will become like Bangalore where if I can do 10km in 45 mins, I consider it an excellent day.

My own experience in Singapore was that whether there was a long line of cars outside my house or Orchard Road was clogged, it did not matter to me.  I had good alternatives - walking, bus (with bus lanes), MRT.  That's all we really want in Bangalore - no?.   Then the car users can fight among themselves on who should give up his ride for the benefit of other car users. 

I am also not so sure that car ownership should be some sort of fundamental right.  One should be able to prove he/she can park it within his/her premises and not utilize the road/footpath for parking - at least not the footpath.

Srivathsa

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Naveen's picture

Travel cost - an important factor

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Blrpraj,

You first tried to state that higher costs for use of private vehicles might not control traffic growth. However, by stating ---"added costs of private vehicle operation like insurance, wear and tear, maintenance, depreciation in value, damage due to accidents etc"---, you compromised what you began stating in the first instance.

Increasing the cost for travel for commuters who choose to use private transport (especially daily /regular commuters) is probably the only tool that can control traffic volumes effectively. It has proven successful in many richer cities (such as London & Singapore, joined by others in Norway & Sweden). These cities have used such traffic restraining measures & have benefited greatly with congestion /cordon pricing.

In India, incomes are much lower but dependence on private transport is very high & motorization levels are approaching those of many western european cities, mainly because of inefficient PT systems, easy availability of a set of wheels at low prices + free or very cheap street parking.

If PT systems are improved & costs for vehicle ownership & use are increased, many will automatically switch over to PTs. Some may still continue to use private cars, but the numbers are likely to be smaller as only those that can afford high costs will continue with private vehicles.

Improving street based PT systems is difficult for our cities due to width restrictions. Thus, the choice for Metro. Fully elevated BRTs are going to be very expensive & besides, it will involve severe disruption during construction.

Travel by feeder buses between Metro stations & nearby areas, if planned well, can work efficiently & will not be very time consuming.
 

s_yajaman's picture

A case of Prisoner's Dilemma

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Our roads are a case of Prisoner's Dilemma (not from the law breaking part but from usage).

Let's say all of us are equally well off and we can afford cars, etc.

  • If all of us use PT - best situation - lowest overall costs
  • If I use PT and you use a car, I am worse off (from a pure convenience standpoint).
  • If you use PT and I use a car, you will be worse off.
  • If both use a car both are worse off.

We will hit a Nash equilibrium because the logical thing for me to do is to use a car.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner's_dilemma

Thus one has to make it inconvenient to use cars by a variety of policies and make it more rewarding to cooperate (in this case use PT).

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

blrpraj's picture

Naveen - more about controlling traffic growth

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@Naveen

"You first tried to state that higher costs for use of private vehicles might not control traffic growth. However, by stating ---"added costs of private vehicle operation like insurance, wear and tear, maintenance, depreciation in value, damage due to accidents etc"---, you compromised what you began stating in the first instance."

My Response: I still stand by my initial statement (not because I am egoistic but I strongly believe so); perhaps my earlier statement was not well explained so let me make another attempt; higher costs of owning and operating a private vehicle alone will not deter and curb traffic growth, if that was the case the present cost of petrol alone should have drastically limited the traffic growth, correct?..petrol was in the 20s  2 or 3 decades back...but guess what!  the traffic growth has been exponential. Now, the question comes down to - what are the alternatives (alternatives to private transport)? As of today, in Bangalore I see none. So let's run the following possible scenarios -

  1)  A middle class/upper middle class/rich person who can afford private vehicle in Bangalore and pretty much depends on efficient transportation to get him/her to work in a timely fashion has the alternatives of a volvo bus, or ordinary bus or perhaps autorickshaw/taxis currently in Bangalore. None of these offer dependable & fast commuting options compared to private vehicle. None of these (except volvo perhaps) offers the comforts of a private vehicle too. So in the end what is the incentive for choosing an alternate form of transportation in spite of higher costs of private vehicle?? Heck what, if it costs more to park and operate a vehicle through congestion zones, I will rather gather 3 or 4 people and I will split the costs and rotate vehicle usage; ok this may control vehicle growth a bit, but how many are going to do it? But still, car pooling is via private vehicles and is inefficient usage of given surface area of roadspace; ("carpooling" a much used concept in the US still leads to traffic jams in car pool lanes in many US cities).

2) Compare and contrast the above situation with let's say a live example from half way accross the world - the city of San Francisco and it's adjoining bay area. The reason I picked this region is because of my familiarity with it's public transportation system and the similatiy of this region to Bangalore in terms of  being a center for a large number of high tech companies. Costs of using private transport are needless to say high but it is not that public transport is all that cheap (I am speaking from personal experience). The main incentive for not using private transport is that there are numerous viable fast, reliable and safe alternatives that enables you to travel much faster without risking life or limb and enables you to get to work on time and in comfort. Depending on where you live and where you are going, you have the options of light rail, commuter rail, street cars, non stop buses operating on the carpool lanes(drawback of buses though is that they operate along with regular private traffic and so are subject to traffic jams) and subway train. This is where costs of private transport come in and people begin to weigh the private transport costs (not just monetary but in terms of time savings, stress, comfort etc) against the viable public transport alternative and end up choosing public transport. It is no secret or surprise that in places like Bay Are or for that matter our very own Mumbai people even with fancy designtations like VP, Director etc opt of public transportation regardless of the cost differential  if there is a viable alternative that is faster and comfortable. (the reason I mentioned about VPs directors is bacause i wanted to show that there is no social stigma against public transport and  monetary cost is NOT the only consideration for such folks with fat salaries..another thing to note is that fat salaries is not restricted to only such designations nowadays so there are 10s of thousands of people in the same bracket weighing a lot of parameters before choosing one mode of transport or the other; in fact the number of peeople with a large disposable income in on the rise in India) 

"Increasing the cost for travel for commuters who choose to use private transport (especially daily /regular commuters) is probably the only tool that can control traffic volumes effectively. It has proven successful in many richer cities (such as London & Singapore, joined by others in Norway & Sweden). These cities have used such traffic restraining measures & have benefited greatly with congestion /cordon pricing."

My Response   The reason this has succeded in these cities is because of a viable alternative being there. London's undergeound tube system and it's bus transportation network needs no introduction. If you were to ask me what improvement needs to be done to London's PT system, then the one thing I would do is figure out a way to seperate the buses from regular traffic, the last time I was there, the buses would get caught in the traffic jams and crawl along at a snails pace; but still, no complaints though and no Indian city comes even close to London's PT system. The beauty is that at almost all points you are either a bus stand or a tube station away from going to wherever you need to go. I am not familiar with the other cities you mentioned but i would be surprised if those cities do not have a goot PT alternative which people are drawn to. Perhaps Srivathsa can throw more light on how the PT system is in Singapore. I think he can relate to the public transport experiences in San Francisco I have drawn parallels with in my earlier posts. Dammit, in Bangalore I do not have a decent footpath to walk to my local bus stop without risking life and limb :-) leave alone the monetary costs of private vs public transport to go 15kms :-). 

Needless to say even the best PT system will be ineffective without proper urban planning as I have highlighed in the document. In the last 15 years Bangalore's landscape has changed with apartment coming up indiscriminately and with rediential areas being converted to commerical establishements.

In my opinion we need not even go to the extent of charging private transport usage..simple alternative..don't build the infrastrucure (which costs money in the first place) that rewards private transport. The money that would have been poured into that infrastructure could have been better used for footpaths and improving public transport infrastructure rewarding mass movement of people. For example in congested areas of Bangalore, provide extremely limited time sensitive parking in core business areas and enforce strict no parking rules with no nonsense toaway approach. Provide alternative convenient shuttles to such areas. After a few days people will stop bringing their private vehicles because of the parking hassles.

blrpraj's picture

IDS - reach vs speed

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@IDS

"Generally PT tends to be more reach oriented than speed oriented. The congestion charge point being if you want speed pay for it. The PT point being we can reach you as close as possible and on time, if not better than private transport can, but need not necessarily be faster."

My Response

. No pun intended, but SAAAR! which part of Bus RAPID Transit (Los Angels, Bogota etc), Mass RAPID Transit (MRTS) of Chennai or Bay Area RAPID Transit (BART of the San Francisco bay area) don't you understand?  Of course there is no rule that states that PT by design has to be faster than private transport but a well designed PT system ends up being faster than private transport in a lot of  well proven cases (SF Bay area, Los Angeles, NY, London & DC to name a few cities whose PT systems I am familiar with & used; I am sure you too are familiar with these citie's PT systems). This statement is NOT based on some random preception from a die hard PT fan to prove a point but based on accurate measurements right down to the minute.  I am a normal person like most people who choses the path of comfort and least resistance . If I am given a faster alternative at a cost which is not exorbitant I will take it like the other people who take PT in the above mentioned cities. On the other hand in a city like Bangalore, if my costs of private vehicle ownership is increased then I will live with the increased costs and use private transport rather than risk my life & limb to walk (without footpaths) to a BMTC bus stand to take the dreaded undependable BMTC bus and hang for dear life on the footboard not knowing when I will reach the office. The problem in Bangalore is people shoot the messenger (BMTC) rather than fixing the underlying problem (infrastructure and urban planning). BMTC is very easily blamed but if you ask me given the pressures and the constraints I think BMTC drivers and BMTC as a whole are doing a reasonable job. BMTC drivers and conductors in my opinion are one frustrated lot with a tough job and need all the help they can get.

I am not saying cost is not a factor, but when we talk about enticing private vehicle users to switch to PT then we are talking about a set of people who have sizable disposable incomes and are addicted to cars AND can absorb increases in costs; for these people monetary costs for vehicle ownership and operation is not the only consideration. Speed, reliability, reach, safety & comfort as an overall package plays a very significant role in choosing PT.

blrpraj's picture

Bus based transport will play a critical role

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In my opinion even after the Metro comes along, bus based transport will play a critical role. I found an interesting debate on the net of bus vs metro -

http://www.slideshare.net/das_gv/metro-vs-bus-which-is-better

But I think it not a question of bus vs metro. I think it is a question of how bus and metro complement each other and work as a system to move people in mass numbers rapidly.

Another Interesting thing in the slide is the comparison between london & bangalore; plus, the comparison between bogota and bangalore also.

What I don't agree with though is what the presentation says about Metro being a bad decision.

Statistics about london's bus transport system  (from http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/media/newscentre/archive/4380.aspx)-

"The London bus network is one of the largest and most comprehensive urban systems in the world. Each weekday 7,500 London buses carry 5.4 million passengers on more than 700 different routes."

Wow, that is a sizable number, inspite of having the world's best (definitely got to be among the top 3 or 5) subway system.

Talking about insufficient street widths in Bangalore and why we can't have bus priority (or bus only lanes) - I disagree with that outlook.  I actually felt that London's streets are narrower than some of the streets in Bangalore. When they can have bus lanes then why can't we? When London is planning for BRT why can't we? - http://www.ltconline.ca/Pubs/Long%20Term%20Growth%20Summary%20-%20Update%20Sept%202008.pdf

When Paris can with it's narrow streets can, why can't we ? - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PP9l0oUpZ44

How BRT is successful even in Turkey -  http://www.vimeo.com/831028 (notice the total grade separation of bus traffic from other traffic and most importantly..there is no chaos)

Now, here is an example of how NOT to implement a BRT, notice the lack of grade separation and see how there is total chaos (can happen only in India I guess )  - http://www.vimeo.com/931124

What is wrong with the Bangalore Elevated Tollway - Earlier in this thread it was pointed out that elevated busways are costly, require lot of demolitions and hence are not possible. Well, my question is, haven't we done all the demolitions and poured money into widening hosur road in the first place over the past 15 years and then poured a lot of money to construct the elevated tollway in this video? - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_GAGWSEtzk

In my opinion we have a readymade dedicated busway in the form of the elevated tollway, it only has to be put to good use by the planners; they should immediately shift all public transport buses (including company buses ferrying employees from the city) to the elevated highway without toll and shift all the private vehicles (cars/motorcycles/taxis etc) to the road below which is good enough. The other thing that should be done is connecting the elevated tollway to the nearest TTMC in the city and integrate that TTMC with a metro station.  

 The flyover building madness - Flyovers themselves per se are not bad. It depends on how they are built and what use they are put to; basically it comes down to a vision and planning. In this video of Ahmedabad BRTS notice how the buses on the BRT lane are waiting at a traffic light -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGvWZSRTGQo

Easily this can be improved and the waiting avoided by building a flyover just for the BRT lane. This would be a classic case of rewarding public transportation/mass movement of people with suitable infrastructure. For those who aregue that building flyovers dedicated to BRTS lanes; my question would be; haven't we already spent crores of rupees on flyovers, road widening etc?... And what are the results from that? - traffic jams for everybody - private as well as public transport. 

idontspam's picture

Trunk vs Trunk+Feeder

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 which part of Bus RAPID Transit (Los Angels, Bogota etc), Mass RAPID Transit (MRTS) of Chennai or Bay AreaRAPID Transit (BART of the San Francisco bay area) don't you understand?

All of these are only TRUNK routes. On the trunk routes they have priority but not the feeders. PT includes not just metro type trunk routes they also include feeders and the timing is cumulative of both. The feeders are not expected to be fast they are expected to have increased reach and drop you at the nearest trunk stop so you can do the journey on a fast route. I have lived in the Bay area and the feeders to the Bart stations arent exactly as frequent or as fast as the BART itself. THey go around the town collecting people before they stop at few BART stops. This is like comparing the time taken on London underground alone vs comparing the total time taken from origin to destination including a bus feeder segment in the route.

This statement is NOT based on some random preception from a die hard PT fan to prove a point but based on accurate measurements right down to the minute.

So you think I pulled my comparitive travel times out of thin air?

idontspam's picture

Trunk routes

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Today in BMTC there is no distinct classification between a trunk route and a feeder. They only have black board and red board and by type of bus (vajra, puskpak, ordinary etc) hence routing is just a mish mash of point to point, grid, hub & spoke systems.

I had proposed this earlier, there is no need to wait for Metro to complete. Even today there can be janti vahanaas mimicking the metro routes running on priority lanes with high frequency and feeder buses feeding these trunk routes. This will allow the tewaking of feeder systems etc without waiting for another 10 years for 200kms of trunk line trains.

blrpraj's picture

@IDS - trunk routes or not..does not matter

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"All of these are only TRUNK routes. On the trunk routes they have priority but not the feeders. PT includes not just metro type trunk routes they also include feeders and the timing is cumulative of both. The feeders are not expected to be fast they are expected to have increased reach and drop you at the nearest trunk stop so you can do the journey on a fast route. I have lived in the Bay area and the feeders to the Bart stations arent exactly as frequent or as fast as the BART itself. THey go around the town collecting people before they stop at few BART stops. This is like comparing the time taken on London underground alone vs comparing the total time taken from origin to destination including a bus feeder segment in the route."

My Response: IDS,  trunk routes or not, does not matter. The point is well designed PT on an average for most people is faster than private transport (PT in Indian cities mostly are an exception since they are lousily designed without vision). 

For example, in the bay area, it is still faster to drive up to the Fremont station, park there and then take the BART all the way into town. Yes, i agree with you that feeder buses add to the time but I found that a car trip from my Fremont apartment took more time on quite a few days during commute hour than the other option of getting to BART station via a feeder bus then taking the BART into town. One disclaimer here...don't expect PT to be faster if you are travelling a mile or 2, as the commute distance progressively increases so does the advantage (meaning time savings) of mass rapid transport with efficient feeder services. Going by your statement, time taken to drive all the way to town must be significantly lesser than the time taken to get to BART by feeder service and then take the BART. But it actually turns out to be the same on some occassions and most occations faster to get onto a BUS and then take BART all the way to SF. Unless of course..you are in the carpool lane all the way into town and hope that there are no accidents. 

Similar scenario in LA, it is much faster to drive to norwalk let's say from Anaheim and take the metro into town or the offices near LAX airport rather than drive on the dreaded 91 and 105 freeways.

But, bottome line is, shouldn't we be taking the BART model and see how we can improve on it to fit bangalore? Perhaps by making the feeder service faster by introducing bus priority lanes and perhaps integrating high rise apartment  complexes with feeder bus stations and perhaps with the metro stations themselves. Office complexes could also be integrate into such stations. All these integrations being done via walkways. A million reasons can be cited why many of these things probably cannot be done in Bangalore..but there is only one reason why i HAS to be done and the reason is -> Bangalore is in a mess and it has GOT TO do it.

"So you think I pulled my comparitive travel times out of thin air?"

My Response: Well...I didn't say that . But, now that you mention it, who knows?. Please, let's be sensible when comparing...obviously if somebody is living 10 miles away from a BART station and away from the alignment ..had to catch a bus 10 miles south to the BART and then double back north on the BART obviously it does not make sense to compare and the time taken would obviously be more.

And last but not the least, since you have lived in the Bay Area...if BART and Caltrain weren't faster given that they both cost quite a bit depending on where you are going..you wouldn't be seeing the levels of ridership seen on them. Keep this in mind, San Jose to Millbrae takes just 50 mins in an express caltrain..try doing it in private transport in commute hour..unless you are driving at breakneck dangeorous speeds(which you can't anyways due to traffic)..it takes 1.5 hours at the least. At the San Jose end..if you time yourself correctly add another 10 mins at most to take a caltrain shuttle to/from the downtown areas where many offices are located.

Also, one more way of comparison (food for thought for all the readers) ..in both the bay area and LA, over past couple of decades as traffic has increased so have the commute times. but guess what..metro rail travel times have remained constant (yes, I am stating an obvious fact)..but again food for thought to show how progressively over time for the same commute time...private transport commute time has signficantly increased over that period compared to PT (most specifically rapid transit systems ) staying constant.

idontspam's picture

 But, bottome line is,

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 But, bottome line is, shouldn't we be taking the BART model and see how we can improve on it to fit bangalore? 

What is the BART model? How is the metro in Bangalore not on the BART model? How does the BART model compare with the TFL model in London or the SMRT model in Singapore. Please share you thoughts.

But, now that you mention it, who knows?

So you are saying I am lying on my travel timings from home to work? For what purpose I would do that I wonder. Dont know what your winks was supposed to convey but that was a pretty insulting insinuation. 

Nevertheless, since your way of proving your point involves calling me a liar, I will put aside my experiences for now and ask if you can once again remind me of your timings from origin(home) to destination(where it is you go) on PT from end to end? What were the feeder services you used (a link to their route map will help). Also please enlighten me how taking your car to the station constituted usage of Public Transit. Maybe other Praja folks find some use of your experiences. 

blrpraj's picture

"What is the BART model? How

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"What is the BART model? How is the metro in Bangalore not on the BART model? How does the BART model compare with the TFL model in London or the SMRT model in Singapore. Please share you thoughts."

My Response: I used the term BART model because we were on the topic of San Franciso bay area and the BART in our discussion sparked off by the term Rapid Tansit i mentioned to illustrate time savings. I don't know about singapore since I haven't visited the city, only transited the airport. As far as London goes, the system is fabulous, unique in it's own way but I haven't analyzed it in detail nor spent enough time there to compare it with the bay area BART; but London's system from my experience and from what I have heard from other localites..wins hands down as by far one of the best PT systems in the world (among top 3 or 5). As far as the "BART model itself goes it is by far the BEST PT system among the cities I visited West of the Rockies in North America (Canada and the US); perhaps Chicago and NY area are the only other cities among the ones I have visited that have comparable or better PT system. What is unique (in North America west of the rockies) to BART -

            - major BART stations like Fremont, Dublin/Pleasanton etc have integrated bus stations/bus parking for transfer to buses

          - Seamless transfer to SFO airport OR the Oakland airport via shuttle (of course daily commuters care less about this connection but still this is a very essential and good feature)

         - good connections to buses in the form of nearby (few yards walkable on safe footpaths) bus  stops at most BART stations

         -  excellent transfer in downtown SF to the SF muni which essentially gives you a wider reach in downtown SF.

         -  excellent tranfer at Millbrae to the caltrain for people commuting between downtown SF and lower west bay.

        -   last but not the least, excellent facilities for people planning to use bikes on BART http://www.bart.gov/guide... (this may not work in Bangalore though given the general lack of  civic sense in public places..but who knows...worth giving a try to give a chance to those willing to brave Bangalore's bike unfriendly streets and crowded metro stations)

I would be happy to see some such system (not exactly the same implementation) even on a miniscule scale implemented in Bangalore; basically providing seamless connection between multiple points/regions and between multiple modes of transport with rapid uninterrupted traffic flow (metro obviously has uninterrupted flow..we need to do better than the bay area and figure out a way of making buses flow without interrruptions..one solution I proposed in the initial document is busways..other thoughts are more welcome). How is the Bangalore Metro not the BART model? Well, take  one look at the proposed TTMC designs and how the one at Jayanagar has been implemented, it will tell you all - where is the seamless well thought out integration? Also, the BART provides wider reach and many transfer points to different modes as stated above. Now, there are better PT systems accross the world (London being one of them), Bangalore's current or proposed systems do not even come close.

blrpraj's picture

@IDS - calling you liar? Whoa..wait a minute

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@IDS

So you are saying I am lying on my travel timings from home to work? For what purpose I would do that I wonder. Dont know what your winks was supposed to convey but that was a pretty insulting insinuation. 

Nevertheless, since your way of proving your point involves calling me a liar,

My Response:  Hold on, wait a minute! not so fast. Where did I state that you were lying and where did I term you a liar? The wink and the question of "now that you mention, who knows?" (in answer to your question of whether you pulled those facts/timings from thin air) was more of a friendly jab asking if you were dreaming (and flying high in thin air? or are you on terra firma). You should know better since I assume you are well travelled. It is same like the other day when someone whom i know was confidently claiming that a boeing 737 has 4 engines; so in response my colleague asked him if he was pulling the extra 2 engines out of thin air ...turned out the guy incorrectly thought a 737 had 4 engines..long story short..nobody was lying in this incident. So, cool off and learn to take a friendly jab or joke .  Apologies if I offended you and that was not the intent.

Fact based discussion? then I am game. Othwerwise I don't have to waste time on this forum proving anything to anybody. A die hard car fan can prehaps try to prove that private transport is faster than PT in London, NY or the bay area; then so be it...but only a sane person know that the answer depends on where you live and where you are commuting to but in most cases PT will win out in terms of overall time taken to reach your destination (very short distance ..perhaps a mile or 2 then probably/maybe no). 

Naveen's picture

BRT - Difficult for Bangalore on most roads

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Buses have always been (& will continue to be) the workhores of the city transport system, no doubt, even after Metro (& Monorail system/s) are built.

However, building viaducts will not be possible on most roads, other than perhaps the wider ones. Hosur, Tumkur (& probably many other) elevated tollways are being built with private investments. BRT on these is difficult as revenues will be insufficient to attract private investments.

This more or less explains why the Metro is being pursued as answers have been found for funding, despite the high costs.

 

idontspam's picture

I rest my case

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  I don't know about singapore since I haven't visited the city,

As far as London goes, ... I haven't analyzed it in detail nor spent enough time there to compare it with the bay area BART

perhaps Chicago and NY area are the only other cities among the ones I have visited that have comparable or better PT system.

I rest my case

idontspam's picture

You wont know it till you use it

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 An Americans take on PT after experiencing it 

Comparing a city like stockholm which has invested in PT with Bangalore brings out some important observations

The difference is that in Stockholm they made tough choices for the greater good. They moved their air traffic away from the city instead of continuing to expand an old airport in the middle of where everyone lives. They built an extensive underground rail system which meant carving deep into the bedrock below lakes and rivers.

Both of these things happened more than sixty years ago and neither was cheap, but in the long run, they were ultimately worth it. They required sacrifices but they became gifts to future generations that people today are enjoying.

Vijay Srinivas's picture

Re:GOALS OF A GOOD PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM

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What about ROUND THE CLOCK SERVICE. Why should anybody use public transport, if they are stranded while returning from a movie or a concert, or even from an office night shift, at, say 11 pm?

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