What drives people away from public transport? Govt finds out

What drives people away from public transport? Govt finds out

The ministry said it is the “biggest public transport data exercise in the country”.

Unreliable service, long waiting time, delayed journey and crowding in buses and at bus stops keep people off public transport, a study carried out for the housing and urban affairs ministry has found.

The study across 46 cities with more than 2 lakh respondents has revealed that 64% citizens were concerned over unreliable service and a total of 68% respondents flagged the issue of overcrowding in buses and at bus stops.

The survey, which also covered more than 15,000 bus drivers and conductors, found that 59% of the respondents were concerned over delays due to traffic jams and parked auto rickshaws and shared auto rickshaws blocking the bus stops. The ministry said it is the “biggest public transport data exercise in the country”.

What drives people away from public transport? Govt finds out
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The extensive exercise was conducted between October 2021 and April 2022 to identify the problem plaguing public transport in cities under the “Transport 4 All Challenge” of the Smart City Mission. “This is the first such exercise to identify the problem areas. Shortage of buses, low frequency of buses, poor scheduling, inefficient route rationalisation and lack of last mile connectivity are some of the major issues that have been flagged by citizens. The study has also shown more than half of the respondents want to get information about routes and timetables of buses online,” said a ministry official.

The findings come at a time when the government is working on policies to promote public transport, improve last mile connectivity and find innovative solutions. Now in the second phase of the challenge, start-ups can register with their idea pitches on the ‘Start-up India’ portal to develop solutions for the issues.

“Solutions developed as part of the challenge aim to integrate formal and informal modes of public transport wherever possible. The solutions that demonstrate the ability to meet the needs of citizens would be piloted in selected cities. The start-ups will develop prototypes of solutions,” the ministry said.

The study also found how nearly 53% respondents preferred paying in cash for a single journey while in case of those using different modes of transport, 54% prefer to make digital payments. However, when it comes to drivers of auto-rickshaws and cabs, most want cash payment.

According to the report, besides health-related issues such as stress, anxiety, joint and body pain, nearly 40% of bus drivers and conductors raised the issues of no protection from harsh weather, poorly maintained buses and frequent breakdown of vehicles. Some other concerns they flagged are long waiting at depots for duty assignment and irregular working hours with insufficient break time.

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