India to learn from London transport

Deal paves way for expertise sharing

May 12, 2017 11:05 pm | Updated 11:05 pm IST - London

India is set to draw on the lessons from the strong public transport system in place in London — where over 1.3 billion journeys take place every year — under an MoUbetween Transport for London (TfL) and India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on Friday. The agreement, reached during the visit by Minister for Road Transport and Highways, and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari, will involve sharing expertise on the mobility and efficiency of India’s transportation systems, as well as around logistical issues such as planning and delivery.

It will also cover TfL’s experience in ticketing, providing information, financing and infrastructure maintenance work, as well as promotion of the use of public transport, delegation members said. Other areas of cooperation in the future were likely to include innovation around buses, including electric buses, and the use of water transport in urban centres.

While sometimes a source of disgruntlement for London’s residents, the city’s transport system is considered one of the best equipped in the world, deploying a wide range of options from the Underground train network to an extensive bus network, the Dockland Light Railway, trams, ferries and even a cable car. During the visit, Mr. Gadkari was given a presentation on strategy and policy reforms around the bus system, as well as other forms of transport.

Mr. Gadkari has been on a three-day visit to London, which has included the launch of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)’s first masala bond (a bond issued outside India in the Indian rupee) on the London Stock Exchange, through which they hope to raise up to the Reserve Bank of India-mandated limit of ₹5,000 crore to help fund investment in key transport infrastructure.

Eagerness to work

Speaking at an event at the High Commission earlier this week, Mr. Gadkari highlighted his eagerness to work on urban transport solutions alongside wider infrastructure development, including building on the rapid construction of roads in India, which has hit a rate of 23 km a day but is targeted to rise further.

Mr. Gadkari, who said he was involved in a serious road accident years ago, also highlighted his eagerness to work on issues around road safety, including for pedestrians and cyclists, which he said featured in the discussions in London. Around 1.5 lakh people die in road accidents each year in India, which also hopes to learn from Britain’s strict and transparent system for issuing drivers’ licenses. Mr. Gadkarti said they would be key to the improvement of safety on India’s roads.

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