Ashok Kumar Saroha, Director, Urban Transports, Union Ministry of Urban Development, discusses with Shashidhar Nanjundiah about the methods to integrate urban transport systems.
What are the pros and cons of Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) vis-Ã -vis Metro Rail?
One size does not fit all. As such metro alone cannot be the MRTS solution for even the largest city as can be seen globally. BRTS and Metro are both MRTS solutions. Any of them (or mix of more than one) could be appÂlicable depending on facts and circumstances of parÂtiÂcular of line (or network of lines). It requires Alternative Analysis which would actually determine what is more suitable. In fact, in case of mega cities the solution could be integration of more than one of these solutions (modes) i.e. BRTS and MRTS (as well as other modes of Mass Transit) can be part of an integrated solution withÂin the same city. There is lot of material (published as well as on internet) available that can be gone through and used.
Will the same concept or plan work for all our cities uniformly?
It is a matter of fact that all our cities have unique geographical as well as economical and social charaÂcteristics. Therefore, there cannot be one straight jacÂketed solution for all of them.
How do you see PPP as a financially sustainable and viable mode?
PPP is as a concept envisages combining the strengths of government as well as private sector. It has to be designed as a win-win situation for both of these sectors. Therefore, it has a future, including in bus systems.
How should cities determine whether Metro or BRTS should be employed in their city?
A particular city has to come up with a proper study in the form of Comprehensive Mobility Plan and the alternative analysis would determine modes that would be best suitable for that particular city.
Are our cities planning their local transport in accordance with the above-mentioned way? Where are the glaring gaps?
Yes, our cities are taking steps towards the same. CMP have been prepared in cities and it is under process in many more. There are improvements which would come along the way. Efforts are being made for capacity building at state and ULB level which would go towards required improvements.
Is the Centre's policy on urban transport feasible?
Centre has formulated National Urban Transport Policy in April, 2006. It has been found to be the guiding force since then. As it is a policy, its success lies in the matter of detailing while implementing. Therefore, we need to concentrate more on implementation part and details thereof.
What is your projection of urban transport systems in India over the next 2-3 years?
In India, urban transport is relatively new as a profÂessionally handled subject. It would see improvements along with the time. I am sure that in the coming years, it would be dealt more professionally and methodically. Efforts of capacity building at various levels are being made. They would bear fruits gradually.