All cities that want a mass rapid transit system will now have to furnish details of how they will ensure first and last mile connectivity through feeder buses and pedestrian and cycle tracks for seamless transportation.

The Union Urban Development Ministry has mooted a proposal wherein detailed project reports for an MRTS will be accepted only when they include information on how the city proposes to account for feeder buses and what steps will be taken to ensure that cycle and pedestrian tracks will be provided in the influence zone of the MRTS stations (a minimum radius of a couple of kilometres).

The Ministry’s decision comes in the wake of reports that have shown that the absence of feeder services diminishes the benefits of a mass transit system. “The Ministry is of the view that there is a need for a transportation system that is seamless and integrates various modes of public transport to ensure first and last mile connectivity. For instance, it has been observed that in the absence of feeder buses not many people are able to use the metro in Delhi. Because there are no pedestrian-friendly roads, a lot of times people opt for private vehicles rather than using public transport. These issues need to be addressed to ensure an efficient public transport system,” said an official.

Feeder buses, pedestrian tracks

Currently, the terms of reference and the detailed project reports (DPRs) that are received by the Ministry do not include any information on the concepts of feeder buses and cycle and pedestrian tracks.

“In the absence of first and last mile connectivity options, not only are the commuters inconvenienced, but the overall ridership is also adversely impacted. States only indicate the costs of the MRTS, which forms the bulk of the spending, but the cost of feeder services and providing pedestrian-friendly features which are much lesser are often left out. Very often it becomes difficult to raise funds for these otherwise essential provisions that are not budgeted in the DPRs. The Ministry is keen to change that and has proposed that States be asked to include these costs in terms of reference and detailed project reports,” the official said.

The Ministry provides States financial aid up to 80 per cent for undertaking traffic and transportation studies, feasibility studies and comprehensive mobility plans. About 50 per cent of the total cost is shared for the preparation of detailed project reports. These terms of reference and detailed project reports have to be approved by the Ministry before the States can invite bids for sanction of works.

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