With the continuing expansion of the metro rail network across India, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has asked State Transport Corporations across the country to conduct route rationalisation of public bus services along existing as well as upcoming metro train routes.
India is poised to overtake Japan and South Korea to become the third largest metro rail network in the world, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said at the 15th Urban Mobility India Conference in Kochi on Friday.
In line with the Centre’s objective of ‘moving people rather than vehicles’, there was a need, the Minister emphasised, to fully utilise the potential of urban transport systems, including buses and metro rail networks, by 2047.
“Both public buses and metro train systems are crucial components of urban mobility; at the same time, however, there is a need to ensure that both these systems complement each other instead of overlapping,” a source aware of the development said.
“The Ministry has directed all States — with both existing as well as upcoming metro rail networks — to conduct route rationalisation of buses in the interest of commuter convenience and multimodal mobility. The step is also expected to bring about a faster shift of commuters to public transportation,” the source added.
With road space decreasing given the incremental increase in the vehicular population of the country on an annual basis, the step essentially aims at striking a balance between the number of buses already plying and actually needed along routes where a metro rail network exists or is coming up.
Metro coaches, the source said, can carry roughly around twice the number of passengers compared to buses — usually ranging between around 200 passengers per metro coach compared to around 100 to 125 passengers aboard a bus.
“If a route between two destinations, for example, sees an average footfall of 1,000 passengers per day, for whom 10 buses are deployed, the availability of a single metro train with five coaches will be enough to cater to the entire demand,” the source said.
“However, that does not mean that buses should stop being deployed on the route entirely not only because some commuters may prefer using buses over the metro due to choice, operational timings, and a host of other factors. So, balancing both systems is essential,” the source also said.
India currently has the fifth largest metro network in the world with 810 km of metro lines operational in 20 Indian cities, and over 980 km of metro networks and Regional Rapid Transit Systems (RRTS) currently under construction in 27 cities, as of September 2022.
The step, according to the source, was one of the most significant components of a roadmap for urban mobility by the year 2047.