Substantial investment in public transport cannot necessarily guarantee improvement in public transport as most of the investment go towards laying of road, said Prasnna Patwardhan, president of Bus Operators Confederation of India (BOCI). In order to improve the public transport, 25 per cent of the road budget should be spent on facilitating the movement, he added.
Patwardhan, who was addressing the media in Pune on Saturday, said that a change of mentality was necessary. “Measurement of parameters like utilisation of assets has to be incorporated while talking about improvement in public transport,” he said.
Citing the example of cities like Mumbai and Bengaluru, Patwardhan said the average speed per hour for movement of people in those cities remain less than 6 km per hour. “This despite the crores that have been invested in new roads,” he said. In order to address this anomaly, Patwardhan suggested allocation of specific road budget for facilitating movement of people. “This could be in terms of buses, better technology, depot, last-mile connectivity, etc,” he said.
Over the years, policy makers, he said, have tried to address the problem by only looking at the roads. Globally, countries have been addressing the problem both by investing in road as well as in movement. “Wide roads might not necessarily mean better public transport, we need to talk and plan for multi-modal means of transport,” he said.
BOCI will conduct the country’s first ever international bus and car travel show between July 28 and 30. Patwardhan said while 90 per cent people in India are dependent on public transport, the sector has not yet been focused on much.
“We aim to address these issues in the sector through discussion and thought sharing,” he said. The event will see participation of both private and public sector entities who are in the field of public transport. A white paper will be issued at the end of the event, which will talk about the policy issues of the sector.