Decision-makers in India have begun to accept the view that bus-based transport services will be the backbone of urban public transport in the decades to come owing to their low cost, quick implementation, and flexibility. The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD)’s National Urban Transport Policy emphasises the principle of ‘moving people, not vehicles’, and has since provided 63 cities with funding for more than 15,000 buses, as well as supported 12 cities with the funding support to implement BRT projects. Despite this growing support, bus transit agencies in India continue to face challenges:
• buses are often stuck in traffic owing to growing congestion;
• inadequate planning of operations and services to match user needs owing to lack of technical expertise within bus agencies;
• low retention rates amongst upwardly mobile users owing to the negative social user perceptions of the quality and service of bus systems.
EMBARQ India works with city agencies to develop bus-based public transport services and implement BRT systems that are efficient, accessible, reliable, affordable and safe, making them the preferred mobility choice for a majority of people. This is be done by:
• Improving the quality of bus transport services by working with city bus agencies to introduce best practices in service planning operations and performance monitoring, thus making bus transit the preferable alternative to private vehicle use.
• Providing technical expertise towards the development of world-class BRT systems and encouraging more Indian cities to consider this as a viable solution to mass transit.
• Improving the technical capacity of public transport agencies, helping them find sustainable solutions to improve the mobility problems in cities, through the Bus Karo Plus initiative, which is a peer-to-peer network designed for learning, sharing of best practices, and the implementation of pilot projects that can improve service provision. Through this initiative, EMBARQ India will organise technical training workshops, develop guidebooks, and document and disseminate best practices in bus operations and planning.
EMBARQ India currently provides direct technical assistance to bus rapid transit (BRT) projects in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Indore, Jaipur, Naya Raipur and Surat; direct technical assistance to city bus systems in Bangalore, Indore and Jaipur; and supports bus systems in Bhubaneshwar, Delhi, Gulbarga, Hubli-Dharwad, Mysore and Vishakapatnam through the Bus Karo Plus initiative.
In 2009, EMBARQ India launched Bus Karo: A Guidebook on Bus Planning and Operations