Efficient management of BEST buses can improve public transport system in Mumbai -Part II

Transport expert Dr PS Pasricha explains that BEST, which has monopoly in the city’s bus transport, can revive and gain commuter base thereby giving a much-needed push to public transport in Mumbai. He also elaborated on specific bus related projects like BRTS and dedicated airport shuttle. This the second part of the interview

Dr PS Pasricha, former deputy commissioner of Mumbai (traffic) in the 1980s, had introduced series of very thoughtful steps to improve the traffic management of the “maximum city”. He has also served on various departments of police. A PhD in traffic management, Dr Pasricha has authored a book, Traffic Management: A long way to go”, on road safety and traffic management. In an interview with Alekh Angre of Moneylife, he talks about urgent need to improve the public bus transport in Mumbai.

ML: To make people leave their cars and use public transport, an effective alternative in the form of public transport should be provided. This is the crux of the whole argument.

PS: Unfortunately we have the same jam-packed BEST (Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport) buses and suburban trains. We can’t expect all strata of society to use them. Considering this, we had suggested introducing air conditioned trains every 15 minutes and also make all the trains with the capacity of 12 coaches. If you could provide air conditioned BEST buses from point-to-point, then a man in a tie also won’t mind using it. Some of these things are happening now. Effective, efficient and affordable public transport is a pre-requisite of traffic restrained technique. You can’t just say that we have built flyovers and it will solve all the problems.

ML: BEST, which has monopoly in public bus transport in the city, added 1,000 more buses to its fleet. But the numbers of passengers have substantially declined. There are also many loss-making routes. How can it be revived?

PS: Earlier, on an average, each single-decker BEST Bus, carried around 110 passengers including standees. As per my estimates, the numbers of standees are reducing. Plus we have to also take in to account the rising number of two-wheelers. Also the population in the southern island with Mahim as outer ring has reduced, while it is increasing in the suburbs. So the passenger decline is not much. What BEST requires is the rationalization of its routes. If they study the routes and passenger behaviour during peak times, they can accordingly start the service on a particular route with required amount of frequency. More importantly, they should display information about the route, frequency, so that people can plan their journey. All these steps will help to revive it.  

As a PhD student I had studied that a double-decker BEST bus occupies 1.58 times the space occupied by a private car—considering factors like bridging distance, safe distance, etc. But it can carry around 120 people whereas car can carry maximum five persons. So this shows that public buses are essential part of urban transportation. If they are affordable, frequent and comfortable people will use it.

ML: BEST claims to be making losses. So is private bus transport a solution?

PS: I am vehemently against introducing private bus services, as in such a case law enforcement would be a big problem. Despite all odds and way this city is growing, we have to give credit to BEST and our suburban trains. The moment it is private, it becomes purely commercial. Look at Delhi, there is a problem of overloading, high speed, etc. Like I mentioned earlier, we need good air-conditioned buses to push people to leave their cars. If BEST is unable to buy them, then we should allow corporates to run fully air-conditioned buses for their employees on certain routes so that they won’t create congestion. Having said that, such services should only be an addition to improve the transport system and not a competition to BEST.
ML: In Mumbai, where the trains are jam-packed, certain BEST buses run empty. How can one have a balance between both?
PS: Unless one studies the commuting pattern, this is difficult. Such a study also helps in rationalizing the routes and fares. We can’t have such low fares when the prices of all essential goods are rising. One way is also to introduce an integrated fare system. In the era of computerisation, it is easier to introduce one ticket system for buses and suburban trains. Many countries have introduced it. Rather than making people to buy different tickets when they change from bus to train or one train to another, a single ticket could be introduced which can be punched on changing the mode or route of transport. Considering the routes or the buses/ trains one has changed, the cost could be equally shared.  

ML: What are your views on Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS)?

PS: It is so difficult to give a blanket answer on this. My opinion is if one project was success elsewhere there is no guarantee it will work here. BRTS has certain limitations in Mumbai. Unless we have even width roads, implementation would be a problem. One way is to introduce a dedicated bus lane where the roads are wide and then mix with the regular lane. Another problem is bunching of buses. Even in the dedicated lanes, if one bus stops to offload passengers, chances are that the buses behind it might also have to wait. This would increase the waiting time. All these issues have to be studied.

ML: One specific issue is that of the inadequate public transport at the Mumbai airport. There is a dearth of a good and reliable taxi service even as there are inadequate public buses. What would be the solution?

PS: This is an issue which has not been addressed for a long time. People are waiting for around 20 minutes even to take a cab. Authorities can introduce an airport shuttle connecting important parts of the city. So many countries have done that. A nice air-conditioned and comfortable shuttle will be used by people. Such a shuttle could be connected to certain locations which are near to a taxi or auto stand. It will give people more options of commuting to and from the airport. Even people coming from outside will opt for it, considering the problem of being fleeced by the cabbies. Still those who don’t want it will continue to use autos or taxis. A shuttle it is also an option for people often left at the mercy of errant cabbies.

You may want to read...
“Public Transport will improve with better management of congestion, signal and utilities” -Part I




3 years ago

Mumbai's transport is basically based on buses and railways for making it more easy and convenient government should have make efficient management.
http://www.mrllogistics.in/services.php">Logistic Services in Mumbai

Pfizer's India MD Kewal Handa to retire in August 2012

Under Handa's leadership Pfizer India entered the branded generics market and grew in strength by mergers with Parke-Davis and Pharmacia and integration with Wyeth India, the company said.

Drug firm Pfizer Ltd, the Indian arm of global major Pfizer Inc, said its managing director Kewal Handa will retire from the company in August 2012 after two decades of association with the firm.
Under Handa's leadership Pfizer India entered the branded generics market and grew in strength by mergers with Parke-Davis and Pharmacia and integration with Wyeth India, the company said.
Speaking on his decision, Handa said: "After twenty personally and professionally rewarding years at Pfizer, it's time for me to begin a new chapter in my life."
Handa, who had also held the position of chief financial officer, has been the managing director of the company for the last seven years, Pfizer Ltd said.
Headquartered in Mumbai, Pfizer Ltd has over 2,300 employees and a manufacturing facility at Thane.


Hyundai Motor India appoints ex-Maruti official Rakesh Srivastava as vice president

“Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) has appointed Rakesh Srivastava as vice president national sales,” the company said in a statement.

Country's second largest car maker Hyundai Motor India said it has appointed Rakesh Srivastava as the vice president for national sales.

“Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) has appointed Rakesh Srivastava as vice president national sales,” the company said in a statement.

Prior to joining HMIL, Srivastava was the chief general manager at rival and the country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI), where he served for 15 years.

Srivastava was responsible for commercial vehicles at MSI and was also looking after the north zone.

Commenting on the appointment, HMIL director (marketing and sales) Arvind Saxena said: “We welcome Srivastava to HMIL. With his extensive knowledge of the industry, we are confident that he will ably contribute with his experience in his new role.”

An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Srivastava has 24 years of experience and has also worked in Goodlass Nerolac Paints and GTC Industries, the statement said.


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