Connect Delhi: Unifying Transport in Delhi
On 4 July 2018, the Delhi Government, in association with WRI India as knowledge partner organized a workshop to launch 'Connect Delhi', an initiative that aims to bring together multiple stakeholders both inside the government (i.e. the transport department, Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), DIMTS, etc.) and outside it (i.e. technical experts, civil society, RWAs, etc.), to effectively implement the ‘Route Rationalisation Project for Buses and Feeder Services in Delhi’.
Over the last two decades, the Delhi State Government has been actively working towards improving the public transport facilities available for commuters in the Delhi NCR region. This launch event was held as part of a workshop on Route Rationalisation and Last Mile Connectivity. After a keynote address by the Hon’ble Minister for Transport Mr. Kailash Gahlot, the Connect Delhi logo was formally launched by the opening panellists: Varsha Joshi, Commissioner transport, MD DTC, Mr. Mangu Singh, MD, DMRC, Mr. M Ramshekar, MD and CEO of DIMTS, Mr.Manoj Kumar, MD Delhi Transport Corporation and Mr. Amit Bhatt, Director - Integrated Transport, WRI India. Speaking at the launch, Mr. Gahlot, said, “When it comes to public transport, we plan every detail but often forget that it must be useful for the public at large. With over 800 bus routes in Delhi, the demand for new routes continues, implying that there is a lack of efficiency. With the Connect Delhi initiative, we hope to develop a public transport system that provides reliable, efficient and convenient public transport that is accessible to users within 15-20 minutes.”
As Indian cities grow and the demand for public transport increases, the efficiency of these systems suffer due to the lack of route rationalisation. Sporadic growth has resulted in demand-based public transport networks i.e. where public transport and feeder routes are structured depending upon public demand, leading to a number of services running simultaneously on the same route, creating heavy competition and affecting service in areas with lower demand. For instance, the transport system in Delhi has a plethora of modes such as metro, bus, RTV, auto rickshaw, e-rickshaw, Gramin Sewa, Eco-Cabs, catering to the city’s transport demand.
"Walking, cycling, paratransit and buses -- we must pay attention to all these aspects of #transport in the route rationalization exercise. It should result in improved quality of life, economic development, safety and security." - M. Ramshekhar, MD & CEO @DimtsLtd #ConnectDelhi pic.twitter.com/aHeoSIMzbJ— WRI Cities India (@WRICitiesIndia) July 4, 2018
Stressing the importance of route rationalisation, Mr. O P Agarwal, CEO WRI India stated, "Cities like Seoul, London and others have shown that if implemented well, route rationalisation can bring out the best not only from buses but also from other modes of transport in a city. Delhi Connect is a step in the right direction, working towards rationalising bus routes and developing feeder options.”
Later sessions at the workshop provided participants an in-depth understanding of route rationalisation and its benefits. The speakers included Mr. Amit Bhatt, WRI India, Dr. Shivanand Swamy, Professor, CEPT University, and Mr. Samir Sharma, VP DIMTS Ltd. Success stories of route rationalisation projects implemented in global cities such as Seoul and London were shared. Major take aways from the workshop included the specifics of the route rationalization project undertaken by BMTC in Bangalore, and a project brief by DIMTS on the Najafgarh pilot project in Delhi.
Delhi has a substantial public transport infrastructure; however, the issues related to accessibility and availability still persist, owing to the fact that historically, transport in Delhi has always been disjointed. Many organisations are involved in managing the Delhi transport system which includes but is not limited to, the DTC, DMRC, the Government of NCT Transport Department, Delhi Traffic Police, etc. Through Connect Delhi, the government intends to bring all these organisations together and develop an integrated route rationalisation plan for public transport in Delhi, such that it is conveniently accessible to all. The purpose of the initiative is to improve the quality of public transport and tackle the neglected areas of feeder services.
The importance of innovative financing in making #publictransport affordable and commuter-friendly must be emphasised. The key question is: how do we rethink public transport? @OPAgarWRI @WRIIndia #ConnectDelhi pic.twitter.com/8wzfGmqTM5— WRI Cities India (@WRICitiesIndia) July 4, 2018
The public transport system in Delhi comprises of a number of different services and various other feeder services. Rationalisation of bus routes and feeder services will lead to to improved accessibility, connectivity, and efficiency of the overall public transport system of the city. Existing bus routes and feeder services routes will be studied and parallel services on the same routes will be identified in terms of trips and route length. As per the travel demand, passenger load and income efficiency of the route a rationale shall be developed to create an integrated transport system.
In his concluding remarks, Mr. Amit Bhatt, Director-Integrated Transport, WRI India, said, “Transport is the backbone of a city's development and route rationalization shall go a long way in creating an efficient and accessible public transport".
For more details, please contact Dnyanada Deshpande (Dnyanada.Deshpande@wri.org).