Public transportation key to 24x7 plan’s success: ExpertsUpdated: Jan 19, 2020 00:21 IST
Even as the state on Thursday decided to allow commercial establishments at non-residential areas to operate 24x7 from January 26, transport experts and urban planners are of the opinion that the successful implementation of the plan will depend on mobility and the availability of public transport late at night.
Experts said that patrons visiting establishments at odd hours must have easy access to buses and trains, and should not be left to depend solely on private cabs and auto or taxis. According to them, public transportation is important in the implementation of such a plan as it provides Mumbaiites with a sense of social security.
“I think public transport will play a key role in making the 24x7 concept accessible to all citizens. With public transportation which is affordable and easily-available, there will be a sense of security in the minds of those stepping out at night. Several cities across the world have special transport services, which are operated at night for their citizens to enjoy the ‘nightlife’ concept. The government can think of running ring-route buses [buses for shorter destinations], point-to-point buses [buses which will only halt at the destination] and special trains at odd hours, should they wish to keep non-residential areas such as BKC [Bandra-Kurla Complex] and Nariman Point open 24x7,” said Amruta Ponkshe, associate fellow at Observer Research Foundation (ORF), a think tank.
She believes that a large number of people outside at late hours and the availability of public transport at night will also help to promote the city’s tourism.
“As the concept of nightlife is promoted by the government, it should not remain exclusive to a certain class, but instead cater to people from all income and social groups. Also, if there are more people out at night, then those who visit Mumbai from other cities or countries will also get a sense of security in the city,” Ponkshe added.
Her colleague Sayli Udas-Mankikar believes that Mumbai could have an authority similar to London’s ‘Night Time Commission’ to monitor the nightlife.
“There are a few key aspects to be considered while rolling out a plan for nightlife or to implement the 24x7 concept for Mumbai. The government would have to take into consideration the issues pertaining to the dispersal [of crowd/patrons], transportation linkages, integrated planning of night zones, licensing of establishments, cleaning up the areas and surveillance, for the successful implementation of the plan. London has created a dedicated ‘Night Time Commission’ that looks after all such aspects, and Mumbai can also adopt a similar model to promote nightlife in the city,” said Mankikar, who is a senior fellow at ORF.
Urban planner Sulakshana Mahajan, however, believes that good public transportation alone will not help the 24x7 concept thrive. She says that a “conducive ambience” also needs to be created.
“Apart from public transportation, there are several other things to be considered to ensure the safety of the patrons and employees. We need to ensure the co-development of several ideas to make Mumbai’s nightlife successful, as all sections of the society are entitled to enjoy the nightlife,” said Mahajan.