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Public transport usage to see decline after Covid-19 outbreak ends: Study

PUBLISHED ON MAY 19, 2020 10:14 PM IST

The urban transportation usage is set to undergo a major change after the Covid-19 crisis is over. A perception study released on Monday, based on a survey across 51 cities in the country from April 7 to 26 by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), revealed that 35% commuters are likely to change their mode of transport for work after the outbreak ends.

Thirty-six percent of the 438 respondents said they used to travel by metro before the outbreak but would commute by private cars, two-wheelers or intermediate public transport (IPT) such as taxis and autos after the crisis ends, while 41% of the respondents who earlier travelled by buses said they would also commute on private transport or IPT in the future.

Promit Mookerjee, research associate at TERI and one of the authors of the report, said, “One of the reasons for the modal shift is the higher-risk perception associated with public transport. There is also an issue of availability and frequency of public transport owing to social distancing norms.”

The respondents also said that they would prefer travelling by shared taxis to metro and some even preferred to continue working from home, the report, ‘Impact of Covid-19 on urban mobility in India: evidence from a perception study’ stated. Seventy-two percent of the respondents are from Tier-I cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.

Another author of the report, Palak Thakur, said, “Even if 65% of the respondents said that they will not shift from their current mode of transport, a large number of these respondents are already travelling by private cars.”

The study notes that the largest decrease of modal share will be borne by metros (9%), followed by buses (4%), and this will lead to an increase in the modal share of private cars and two-wheelers by 10% and private taxis by 2%. The use of non-motorised transport (cycling and walking) is expected to increase by 3%.

“Given the expected shifts post Covid-19, proactive measures are necessary to reverse the amplification of negative externalities. Investments in public transport and non-motorised transport will have to be prioritised over infrastructure for private vehicles,” the study stated.

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