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Towards Planning and Public Transport

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Public Transport
BMTC under Upendra Tripathy can be accused of a zillion things but lack of vision, lethargy and trying - lack of kaLakali, muthuvarji, kaaLaji it can be accused of not. Anybody who has followed BMTC for a while would recognize that he seems to get to the bottom of Bangalore's real troubles. As far as i can recall, he is the tallest amongst the movers and shakers of Bangalore who has zoned in on town planning as the real cause of Bangalore's problems AND done something about it. Latest in that direction is 15 crores(50% of the total required) of BMTC funds for a Centre for Sustainable Transport and Urban Planning in Bangalore to facilitate integration of public transport with urban development. The center is to work on research, consultancy and academic programmes on related issues. It will prolly be housed in IIMB. IMHO, the fundamental problem of every Indian city is the lack of such body with a local focus. respective BDA's & the palikes do as much, but the question is are they doing it from a position of knowledge or power? Somebody, as knowlegeable as Prof. MN Srihari is not on Bangalore's rolls, for example. However, IMHO, the real test of utility would be of vthe palike really engages the center. and the real test of earnestness would be if BMTC could keep off influencing the policy reccomendations. here's hoping for all that. For better travel in a growing city Enhancing transport and urban planning UITP will provide Rs. 30 crore for the centre Lack of coordination between city and traffic planners Union Internationale des Transports Publics (UITP – International Association of Public Transport) will establish a Centre for Sustainable Transport and Urban Planning to facilitate integration of public transport with urban development. While UITP will set apart Rs. 30 crore for this purpose, it will urge an equal contribution from Government of India. This was announced by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) Managing Director and UITP India adviser Upendra Tripathy here on Tuesday. He was speaking at the inauguration of the three-day 9th UITP Asia – Pacific Assembly, hosted by BMTC. While BMTC, as a member of UITP will provide Rs. 15 crore, other Indian UITP members will share the remaining Rs. 15 crore, he said. The prime reason for setting up the Centre has been the absolute lack of coordination between city planners and traffic planners. Needs of a city As such, the public transport needs of a particular city are not taken into consideration during the city’s growth, with the glaring example being Bangalore. The centre, Mr. Tripathy said, will undertake research and consultancy and offer academic programmes. It will enable policy makers to understand public transport requirements of a particular city in its growth. Still in the evolution stage, the Centre either will come up as a Chair at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, or as an autonomous society, he said. Projection Inaugurating the assembly, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman K. Rahaman Khan said with 54 per cent of the total population projected to be in urban areas by 2050, there is an absolute need for coordination between various agencies administering a city. Planning for the future is all the more important, he said. Charter signed On the occasion, BMTC signed a charter of sustainable development with UITP. BMTC’s gesture in promoting environment, economy and social causes made it eligible to sign the charter, Mr. Tripathy said. Adviser to Governor P.K.H. Tharakan, UITP President and Managing Director of Metropolitana di Roma Roberto Cavalieri, UITP Asia – Pacific Division Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer of Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation Eum Sung Jick and Principal Secretary to Transport Department D. Thangaraj were present.


murali772's picture

BMTC's grandiose schemes

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The very first policy recommendation that the Centre for Sustainable Transport and Urban Planning (CSTUP), proposed by BMTC alongwith allocating it a Rs 30 crore corpus, could be to open out the 'public bus transport services sector' to competition from organised private sector players on a level playing field. But, it is quite inconceivable that a body promoted by BMTC, an interested party, will ever do that. And consequently, while promoting such a Centre may not be such a bad idea, it is best left in the hands of either an IIM, or a reputed Architecture and Town Plannning school.

It could cost far lesser too. And, after all, we are talking about public money.

PS: The above is the text of the letter sent to Times of India in response to the news report in their columns today captioned "Decongesting Bangalore - Research Institute for Transport"

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

technology can help but to a limited extent

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What does not seem to be appreciated by the public in general is the fact that however good and technologically advanced a bus may be, as long as its operation is in the hands of the government-owned monopoly BMTC, it can make a marginal impact if at all on the overall travel experience.

The BMTC has had on its fleet some 50 VOLVO buses, which are comparable to the best in the world, from over two years. But, even now, the utilisation of these, apart from the overall ridership they enjoy, is pretty dismal by any standard. A GPS-enabled service for tracking these buses through SMS, known as 'Yelli Iddira?', which helped improve ridership considerably, was abandoned unceremoniously after it had served the purpose of getting BMTC some publicity mileage, leaving the users who had come to depend on it totally in the lurch.

Very clearly, therefore, technology can do only so much. The real change can happen only with policy revisions enabling effective competition from organised private sector players. The attendant benefits that will accrue to the city as well as its citzens, in addition, will also be really huge.

PS: The above is the text of the letter sent to the New Indian Express in response to a news report in its columns today captioned 'wi-fi enabled bus to make smart travel a reality'.

For more on the subject, please read:

Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

The BMTC monopoly PIL

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Murali sir, wanted to know if you have something to share with us on your "BMTC monopoly hurts bangalore" PIL. If you need help doing research or gathering supporting facts, may be you can post a call for help here.
tsubba's picture


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i looked up the UITP website. it seems to be a professional organization for transportation and planning. what exactly the center is going to do under "research, consultancy and academics" and how exactly are the city planners and service providers are going to use it is to be seen. i am hoping that more than abstracts, they deal with specifics kaLaasipaaLya, byatarayanapura levels. stuff which will be actionable in bangalore. what will we do taking universal abstract fundas? that is my greatest hope. palike & pradhikara engineers work with guys in this center and produce real actionable solutions. one set produces the legal angle the other provides sanity check. sure, it will be really interesting to see if BMTC influences the reccomendations. but then we must give credit where it is due. this is a laborious and way too intellectual way of underpinning BMTC's supremacy. If that is what Tripathi was interested in, there are more efficicient ways in which to do this hack job. You dont have to set up a think tank for that. (Aside: T himself is doing a PhD in the economics of public policies from a university in canada. perhaps he has a bent for these type of things. i say may his tribe increase)
Vasanth's picture

Why only Volvo for BMTC luxury service?

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BMTC for its luxury service is only going for Volvo which is very expensive nearly 1 crore. Ashok Leyland and recently Tata introduced Volvo like city buses which is far cheaper compared to expensive Volvos.

Here is the clip of Tata's City Bus: comment guidelines

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