U.T. lacks full-fledged public transport system

A full-fledged public transport system continues to elude the Union Territory of Puducherry over the years, posing hardship to the commuters.

Though the Union Territory has made rapid growth in various sectors over the years, the development of public transport has not kept pace.

In spite of the unbridled increase in the number of vehicles, including non-transport ones, and a significant hike in revenue to the government through the transport sector, there has been no proper plan to put in place an effective public transportation system.

For want of public transport, people resort to using their own vehicles and the majority of the vehicles are two-wheelers.

More private vehicles

The number of private vehicles, including two-wheelers has registered a phenomenal growth over the years, while vehicles under the non-transport category have remained stable.

Statistics from the Regional Transport Department reveal that as many as 11,27,940 vehicles are plying in the Union Territory. This included a whopping 7,70,839 two-wheelers, 6,993 three-wheelers (autos and tempos), 3,694 buses, and 3,794 omnibuses.

While the number of vehicles grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of close to 35%, the growth of public transport vehicles was a meagre 0.38% of the buses per 1,000 population, according to a report of the Transport Department.

For that matter, the number of private buses outdo the strength of the public transport system.

It was 20 years ago that a separate corporation — Puducherry Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) — was established to operate intra-State and inter-State buses.

But the difficulty in meeting the budgetary requirement has been seen either in the retrenchment of staff or in managing the fleet strength.

According to S. Kasturi, a senior citizen, “The impact of shortage of public transportation has been contributing to the congestion in the town. There is a need for the Puducherry government to look into the health of the transport sector and make public transport more accessible to boost ridership.”

According to an urban planner, “Several cities in the country have come up with their own models of public transport. The Puducherry government should incentivise public transport and encourage people to use the facility.”

“To start with, the government could start operating electric and air-conditioned buses within the boulevard. Puducherry needs a quality bus service that covers even the suburbs. Public transport must be given a boost to make it a desirable alternative to other modes of transport,” he added.

When contacted an official said, “Agence Francaise Development (AFD), the French bilateral agency, is working on an urban mobility plan for Puducherry. The plan envisages an exhaustive plan for the safe and sustainable mobility needs of the people. The study was delayed due to the pandemic, and is expected to be submitted by this year-end.”

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 10:33:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/ut-lacks-full-fledged-public-transport-system/article35617666.ece

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