MCG focuses on safe public transport
The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) has turned its focus to finding solutions to aid the recovery of public transport systems in the Covid-19 era, officials said on Sunday. For this purpose, the MCG will be taking the assistance of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), social enterprises, and academic and research institutes to improve the mobility needs of the city and understand the problems faced by residents and transport operators.
“As our city braves through these challenging times, the MCG is committed to making our buses, trains, and other transport services like shared autos, e-rickshaws Covid-safe,” said Surender Singh Saharan, additional commissioner of MCG.
He said that as part of the process, the MCG will be participating in the Central government’s Transport4All challenge to come up with possible solutions for recovery as well as address transportation issues within the city.
Saharan said that through the Transport4All challenge, the city will work towards resolving the most critical problems which citizens face, such as crowding in vehicles, unaffordable fares and long travel times, in order to rebuild people’s trust in public transport.
“Better public transport will help all citizens move safely during the pandemic and make the system more resilient to such outbreaks in the future,” said Saharan.
Sarika Panda Bhatt, a city-based transport expert, said, “Gurugram has multiple options in regards to public transport but there is no clarity or assessment on the exact public demand for each of the options. This challenge will, hence, be beneficial in determining the exact number of buses, e-rickshaws, autorickshaws or metro stations the city requires and accordingly, build around it.”
At present, city residents mostly depend on autorickshaws or e-rickshaws for travel due to the paucity of public transport options. While the Delhi Metro’s Yellow Line and the Rapid Metro network connect areas from the Sirhaul border up to Golf Course Road, there is no connectivity to the older parts of the city. The Gurugaman bus service was also launched due to demands for better public transport and currently caters to select routes.
The MCG officials said that the role of citizen groups, NGOs, social enterprises, academic and research institutes will be crucial in assessing the city’s transport needs. These expert groups can capture the mobility problems citizens, especially vulnerable groups, face through surveys. They can also develop solutions that meet the needs of citizens and evaluate the impact of these solutions after testing them with citizens, among other such measures, said officials.
The challenge is a new initiative by the ministry of housing and urban affairs. “This challenge will be among the cities which have a population above 500,000. It is regarding safe, convenient and affordable transport facility. By participating in this challenge, Gurugram will improve its public transport and better serve the mobility needs of all citizens, during and after this pandemic,” Saharan said.
As per MCG officials privy to the matter, the main focus areas of the challenge will be on conceptualising digital innovations, developing and testing them, and scaling them to provide the best possible options to residents.
Other important aspects of this challenge are to figure out the best possible modes of payment with an emphasis on digital forms, creating control rooms that can help monitor different modes of public transport, and creating various platforms through which passengers can get relevant information, such as waiting time, fare, routes, distance, as well as set up a centre from where they can ask queries on such information, either through an operator or a digital interface.
MCG officials said that the last date for registering for the transport challenge is June 15, with the initiative set to go on till December 2022.
Barring Gurugram, only Faridabad and Karnal are eligible for this challenge in Haryana, as these are the only three cities that have a population above 500,000 in the state.