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Last mile connectivity – panacea for most PT problems

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BusPublic Transport

The results of the recently concluded praja survey to find why people don’t use PT, shows that the last mile connectivity is the issue for only 10% of the people. I was surprised and so did so many praja members commenting on the survey results.  Well, once I analyzed the comments, I realized that it is not 10% but, it is actually more than 60% and people did not see it.

The last mile connectivity for a place like Bangalore can encompass about 2 to 3 kilometers radius from home (or office).  Also, if you have connectivity to most of the major centers from 2 to 3 kilometers radius from home, it would be considered a good PT.  It is a Utopian dream to expect the bus to be at your doorstep.  But, that also emphasize the importance of having low cost and faster last mile connectivity to major roads or bus stand from where PT ideally (BRTS, trunk or metro) can be connected.  With this in mind, let us see if we have good PT connectivity from a random remote location in Bangalore.

Let’s take an example of 5th phase J.P.Nagar which can be considered remote area (at least few years back).  It is in-between 6th phase (which is next to kanakpura road) and 4th phase (next to bannergatta road).   North of 5th phase is the 2nd phase (next to ring road and 9th block jayanagar bus stand).    Now, the three major roads (bannergatta, kanakpura and ring road (9th block)) are within 2 kilometers radius.  The 5th phase itself may have direct connectivity to majestic, shivajinagar or some other major centers but, it would be less frequent and with the traffic in these small roads increasing significantly, certainly the schedule will be unreliable.

When surveyed, the 5th phase J.P.Nagar residents would indicate these issues for not using the PT:

 A) No direct route B) too few buses on my route c) very hard to change buses d) bus stand too far from home E) bus is slower than my car/bike

But, none of these would be true if you consider the major connectivity from 2 to 3 kilometers of 5th phase J.P.Nagar.  If a person is going to electronic city, ITPL or ORR the best connectivity would be from ring road (buses going through silk board jn).  If it is to the Market, it is better from bannergatta road or kanakpura road.  If it is to majestic, it is better from 9th block jayanagar.   The only thing missing would be the last mile connectivity to these points.  If the survey is done with this criterion in mind, most of the 5th phase residents will say last mile connectivity is the problem.

Imagine there is a low cost mini bus/auto rickshaw/van service between 5th phase to the three points I have mentioned every 5 minutes (during peak hour), and every 20 minutes all day and late in the night, 5th phase will be well connected.    

The three points (kanakpura road, bannergatta road and ring road) should have enough buses during peak hour so that it can cater to all the people in the neighboring areas going to specific areas.  The trick is to go to specific point for specific connectivity (example, going towards market, then go to kanakpura road).  You don’t need buses from all areas to every area in the city. 

But, with trunk routes strengthened and last mile connectivity established, it is possible to cover entire city with a good, reliable low cost public transport.  Keeping the ‘2 to 3 kilometer radius’ criterion in mind, try and see if your area is connected.  Also, remember that it is easy to increase the frequency of established trunk route than add a new route to a remote place.


silkboard's picture

Well analyzed sir

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As you have pointed out, last mile i snot just about a shuttle or auto, its about how easily I can walk from home to bus stand, how easily I can change from a short distance bus to longer one, how expensive or time taking is the last mile connectivity option, can I take my cycle on the bus etc. Basically, every issue faced from house door to the bus stand is part of the "last mile" problem.

Do read an old post from Tarle about the need for an Autorickshaw transport authority. We were told during Mr Upendra Tripathy's time (where is he these days?) that a tighter Bus-Auto integration (ticket carryover, revenue sharing with auto) was planned. Don't know how far the idea progressed, but it looks like a doable thing.

You can't regulate autos like that, via rules and enforcements etc, not practical till general enforcement setup improves. But if you guarantee them daily or monthly revenue, and in return, expect them to stick to zones (each auto covers 4-5 named bus stands and stays in the bounds the whole day), that might work. BMTC would get 8-12% boost (I can back this number, just need some time to post the analysis), and that too, for the Vajra like services. It would have to share part of revenue from this increased volumes with the Autos. Essentially, you pay for the auto in the BMTC ticket itself, and this would be optional. such arrangement could lead to more money for everyone.

Best way to start to even try to push for something like this would be to talk to Auto union guys first. No point going to BMTC with anything till we understand the Autorickshaw side of equation and issues first.

Naveen's picture

Well Explained, But...

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Mr Ashfaq Syed,

Your deductions are spot on. However, the reality is that most people here loathe transfers, unlike abroad where interchanging trains & buses is made easier with highly reliable schedules & common ticketing.

Actually, most parts in the city are no more than 2-3 km from a trunk route that carries a large no. of buses, but people still expect direct buses to Majestic, City Market, Shivajinagar, etc, & this is why we have this situation.

Building up on the Big10 concept, BMTC is best advised to reduce concentration on trying to connect every area to Majestic, City Market & Shivajinagar, but instead, intensify local loops & feeder services. A start has already been made with some feeders in the Jayanagar /Banashankari areas & also the WFS services in Whitefield, but it will take some time for people to get used to the new services.

Another pressing need is common ticketing, at least for multiple BMTC bus travel - this will go a long way in encouraging people to transfer from bus to bus & shed off some of the long held biases against additional bus transfers.

Vasanth's picture

We had a disucssion here...

187 users have liked.

 We had a discussion here on the TTMC approach.

Reducing the minimum auto fare to 7 or 1 0and starting shared auto popularly known as 'Seat' autos can improve last mile connectivity.



ss87's picture

Thanks to the advent of the

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Thanks to the advent of the ring road we have many peopel actually changing points on the ring road instead of the central bus stands. Only people having to cross over the city use central bus stands which too are avoided by certain people owing to stops like Corporation and richmond circle providing good connectivity.

BMTC runs certain routes bye-passing the ring road. Eg: We have routes running between Mysore and kanakapura roads  in the following ways:

501,502 series via the ring road

222D,222G,375 etc via Uttarahalli

217B via Somapura

219 via kumbalogodu,somapura and konanakunte cross

211N from Bidadi via Kagaglipura

But BMTC hasnt popularized such points and nor have they improved the freuqency of teh routes except those passing through Uttarahalli.If they do such things properly itself connectivty will improve.

ashfaq syed's picture

thanks and Appreciate the comments

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@silkboard - it is all about economics. Autos get their daily amount and we should get our last mile connectivity. the cost should not be more than Rs 7-10 per person.  where ever possible, should use the mini-van, van etc.   you are right about the talk with auto union.  Also, I have been talking to padmashree from  to see how her autos (she has contracted about 100 and soon will be increased to 1000)  can be used for last mile connectivity.  I am harping on using autos for last mile connectivity because  there are 1 lakh autos in bangalore and they run about 100 to 150 km per day.  they take up about twice the road space of a two-wheeler and carry about the same (1.25 to 1.5 persons at an average).  They travel 5 times more distance in a day than a two wheeler.  so in effect, it is like having 5 lakh additional two-wheelers all day long on bangalore roads.  If these can be pushed to the local areas, by giving them enough business, there will be significant improvement in traffic.

@naveen, you are right single ticket is most important issue.  infact BMLTA is the one who is supposed to put the system together.  My company (IGS) is in the process of creating a consortium of service providers (companies) to create a smart card interface for single ticket from auto to metro (in the lines of oystercard in london or octopus card in hongkong) and talk to BMLTA. 


Naveen's picture

Smart card - Smart Idea, & about time

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My company (IGS) is in the process of creating a consortium of service providers (companies) to create a smart card interface for single ticket from auto to metro (in the lines of oystercard in london or octopus card in hongkong) and talk to BMLTA.

Well, this is already overdue, & I'm glad that your company is working on something like the octopus card that has revelutionized travel & purchases on the move in Hongkong.

However, for starters, it wud be good enough if this were introduced for bus based commuting needs alone, ie. BMTC bus interchanges, & preferably last mile auto too. Maybe this can work with a concern such as easyauto, who have just only commenced operations & will be eager to do something new to capture business.

I am really curious about how you are planning to organize profit-sharing between involved parties. The problem in this country is that there is a huge mental barrier to adapt to modern methods & concepts easily & the tendency to maintain status quo is very strong, particularly with small businesses such as individual autos, unless the operation is on a much bigger scale. In this respect, China is eons ahead, as are most other east asian countries.

megabytes's picture

Last mile - Shared auto cons

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When we talk of last mile - its usually from a main road up inside 2-3 kms of criss cross, narrow, often un-tarred lanes in residential areas. If we have shared autos ganging up around main roads to drop us at home, we increase the congestion, traffic in residential lanes. This is such a pain in an already pedestrian unfriendly city where the lanes near our houses seem to the only sane part of a journey towards the main road.

I am at loss to suggest or even think of an alternative but if we absolutely need these shared autos - they should strictly be electric, intentionally slow and  less noisy.

idontspam's picture

 If we have shared autos

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 If we have shared autos ganging up around main roads to drop us at home

Forget electric and less noisy  etc. Right now autos refuse to ply for minimum fare which is what most last mile will be. I cant think of why they will get together to ply unless they end up getting more than minimum fare. The assumption that autos will agree to last mile is assumption & castles in the air.

So while for Rs. 10 you can go from hebbal to mysore it may cost you twice that amount to get home from the station comment guidelines

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