Cab aggregator major Uber and advocacy group Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC) in a white paper released on Wednesday called for radical changes to solve Bengaluru‚Äôs infamous traffic problem.
The study focuses on easing regulation and highlights the mismatch between the demand for newer modes of transport and the lack of a regulatory ecosystem which promotes these services.
The study notes, ‚ÄúThe administration is yet to create a conducive environment for the economic viability of shared mobility options which could radically help lessen the dependency on private vehicle usage.‚ÄĚ
Titled ‚ÄėSustainable Mobility for Bengaluru‚Äô, the paper is aimed at achieving 80% public transport ridership in Bengaluru through short, medium and long-term goals by 2030.
At the outset, the study notes that Bengaluru has seen a surge of 280% in private vehicle usage between 2007-2020. Meanwhile, the public transport infrastructure, which takes up a low 48% usage, is not equipped to cater to the city‚Äôs increasing demand.
Between 2011 and 2019, the fleet strength of public buses was increased only by 7.89%, whereas the population increased by 32%. For this, the study suggested that the city run 15,000 Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses by 2021 as against the present 6,000-odd.
Noting that the planned next phases of the Metro will be completed only by 2022 (although realistically impossible), the study says it is important to focus on new mobility alternatives and solutions that will smoothly facilitate increased ridership of public transport (mainly BMTC buses) to resolve congestion.
For this, the study talks of incentivising the shift to public transport, chiefly by improving the service quality and scale of public transport while also integrating the diverse modes of public transport in the city.
‚ÄúThe first and last-mile connectivity front is an important part of the travel experience of public transport and is a major incentivising factor for people to move from private transport to public mode. In a recent survey conducted by B.PAC, 24% of non-users of public transport stated a lack of good first and last-mile connectivity as the reason for them using private modes of transport,‚ÄĚ the study said.
For this, it calls for shared cabs, shared autos and bike pooling within the existing contract carriage permit with the consent of the passengers. Also, it demands that the monopoly the state government has on the public bus service within the city should go. It wants private shuttle services and feeder BMTC buses to help close the first and last-mile gap to Metro stations.
Further, it demands that the state define carpooling and formulate a separate policy for pooling service providers which addresses concerns of safety, liability and pricing.
Other than a favourable policy for new-age first and last-mile connectivity providers, it asks for infrastructural intervention like increasing the number of BMTC buses, priority parking for shared mobility services, and bus priority lanes as already proposed by the state government and civic bodies. Other than that, the study advocates walkable footpaths within 1 km radius of all mass transit stations and stops ‚Äď for the bus, Metro and suburban rail.
For a holistic policy framework, the study calls for giving teeth to a common land transport authority as per the National Urban Transport Policy. On this, the paper notes, ‚ÄúThe Government of Karnataka was the first to respond to the policy by creating the Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA) in 2007 but 13 years since then, BMLTA still remains inactive.‚ÄĚ
The study further says that the BMLTA should be made a statutory body that has financial and legislative autonomy to ensure that the proposed solutions can be implemented. This body should have the power to prioritise and finalise all mobility-related investments for the city.
Other aspects mentioned in the study are a comprehensive guide on electric vehicle adoption.