Privatise public transport firms, urges 30-city study | india | Hindustan Times
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Privatise public transport firms, urges 30-city study

A reports said that the Centre must privatise state-run transport corporations to improve the dreadful traffic conditions in major Indian cities, reports Nandini R Iyer.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2007 02:33 IST
Nandini R Iyer

The Centre must privatise state-run transport corporations to improve the dreadful traffic conditions in major Indian cities, the report of a year-long study carried out by a US-based infrastructure and transport consultant for the urban development ministry recommended.

Conducted by Wilbur Smith Associates, the report added the caveat that the government must set up a strong regulatory body to ensure that “competition in private sector would be healthy” and “passenger interests are safeguarded.” The report, of which HT got an exclusive preview, studied the state of traffic and public transport in 30 major Indian cities. Its recommendations promise to change the way urban India travels.

“The report states that to improve public transport, state governments will have to ‘unbundle’ monolithic transport undertakings into viable units,” said a senior government official, who did not wish to be named. Effectively, this means that they must spin off loss-making bus corporations into independent entities the way they did with electricity utilities, the official added.

The report envisages a scenario in which the public sector participates only in planning and providing infrastructure, while private operators provide the services. The government must also come out with one comprehensive law covering all aspects of public transport, such as competition, regulation and licensing.

The report suggests creating a public transport fund from fuel and vehicle taxes, regulating driving schools and encouraging bicycle-friendly traffic management.