Deliberations on the process of setting up Visakhapatnam Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (VUMTA) as part of implementing the Bus Rapid Transit System focused on the challenges in urban transport at a workshop here on Thursday.

Setting up of UMTAs as coordinating agency for multi-mode transports is in accordance with the National Urban Transport Policy. It along with a special purpose vehicle (SPV) is expected to put an efficient transport system in place in cities.

Addressing the workshop, president of Urban Mass Transit Company Limited and vice-president of the Institute of Urban Transport O.P. Agarwal said multiple agencies had to work together if urban transport was to be a success. He quoted the example of the Delhi Metro commissioned at a cost of Rs.10,800 crores being used by only six to seven lakh of Delhi’s 16 million population. Lack of feeder buses and parking were some of the reasons. While UMTA would be the higher body for making policy decision, the SPV would be the legal entity for enforcing the actual operation. However, it will not be the operator. For Visakhapatnam the SPV could be the secretariat for UTMA and the latter an advisory body to the SPV, he felt. Or both could be integrated. Public transport expert from ASCI S.Padam detailed the skills required for UTMA.

VUDA vice-chairman V.N. Vishnu felt developing regular master plan roads by VUDA and the GVMC would lead to link and internal roads and growth of peripheral areas. Describing UTMA as a good concept, District Collector J. Syamala Rao said it should be implemented in a speedy manner.

Municipal Commissioner B. Sreedhar said presently public transport was being used by only 20 per cent of the people and the aim was to bring it to at least 50 per cent. In spite of the complexity of the problem, both GVMC and police were only administrators and had no expertise in transport engineering. The deliberations of the workshop would be sent to the Government for consideration in forming VUMTA. He said as of now the BRTS corridors were only meant for the BRTS buses.

Mayor Pulusu Janardhana Rao asserted that people losing properties would be compensated in consultation with them.

ITU Director-General B.I. Singhal, MLA Tainala Vijay Kumar, TDP floor leader Nalluri Bhaskara Rao and Additional Commissioner (Projects) Pola Bhaskar spoke.

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