The findings of the report show that Delhi was among cities that had a low availability of public transport modes per lakh population.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)
The findings of the report show that Delhi was among cities that had a low availability of public transport modes per lakh population.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)

Delhi is second among 5 worst cities in terms of public transport availability

To rank cities on mobility, one of the primary criteria for ascertaining the quality of life, three crucial indicators were assessed —availability of public transport, transport-related fatalities and road infrastructure.
By Soumya Pillai, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 03:49 AM IST

When it comes to public transport and mobility, Delhi has fared poorly on Ease of Living Index, 2020, the rankings of which were released by Union ministry of housing and urban affairs on Thursday. In fact, the lack of adequate public transport options put Delhi second on a list of five worst performing cities.

To rank cities on mobility, one of the primary criteria for ascertaining the quality of life, three crucial indicators were assessed —availability of public transport, transport-related fatalities and road infrastructure.

The findings of the report show that Delhi was among cities that had a low availability of public transport modes per lakh population. Featuring second on a list of five worst performing cities, Delhi’s figures for the ‘availability of public transport’ was 1,688.50 per lakh population (PLP). Ahmedabad, according to the rankings, fared the worst with only 638.63 transportation modes per lakh population.

The national capital was followed by Navi Mumbai with 2,037.81 PLP, Pune with 2,585.54 PLP, and finally Bengaluru, which had 4,409.62 PLP.

The best performing city in this category was Chennai with a public transport availability rate of 92,017.96 per lakh population, followed by Visakhapatnam with 21,212.92 per lakh population

On the worst performing cities, the report said, “Firstly, the public transport system is not efficient enough to support the population of respective cites. Secondly, these cities may be ”automobile dependent” for increased mobility fostered by rapid economic growth that encourages private vehicle ownership.”

This worrying trend was also highlighted in a study released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in December last year, which showed that the ridership in public transport modes such as buses and the Delhi Metro was witnessing a decline, while the use of private vehicles was seeing a spike.

The CSE analysis also warned of commuters shifting to private vehicles after Covid-19, which could undo years of work in the city to promote public transport, and as a result increase snarls on the road.

According to latest government data, Delhi has around 11 million registered private vehicles, while Delhi has a fleet of around 6,000 public buses. This is nowhere near enough to cater to the 20 million-plus population, say transport experts. The capital city needs around 11,000 buses to bridge the gap between passenger requirement and availability.

Amit Bhatt, director of integrated urban transport at World Resources Institute (India), said a major area where the city is lagging is the integration of its bus fleet with its extensive Metro system.

“There were proposals for increasing the bus fleet of Delhi but probably because of the pandemic, these are yet to be reach the roads. Inadequate availability of buses is a problem being faced by all cities. We had conducted a study, which had showed that India needs around 2.5 lakh buses. In Delhi, along with a shortage of buses, the problem is also that the bus routes are not integrated with the Metro. If that had been done, it could have provided seamless transit options to commuters,” he said.

The report said over 60% of the cities participating in this index, including the national capital, have scored below the national average of 28.05. Chennai emerged the only positive outlier with a score of 79.80, followed by, after a significant gap, Thane (48.40), Bengaluru (48.40), Bhopal (48.01), and Guwahati (47.73).

However, the report also highlighted that transport-related fatalities were much lower in Delhi.

“The incidents of transport-related fatalities were much lower in cities such as Amritsar (4.84), Ahmedabad (5.92), Surat (6.47) Pune (7.12), Bengaluru (7.32), Delhi (12.43) and Hyderabad (12.98) per lakh population,” the report read.

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