Saturday, January 30, 2016

Pune Vs Public Transportation


Today I am writing about a day to day hassle faced by all in Pune – reliable means to Commute.

This is a big issue in Pune due to callous attitude towards Public transportation. It is surprising to know a fast growing city like Pune is not giving Public transportation its due importance. This is exactly why Pune has the highest number of 2 wheelers in the country and the city has turned from a cycle city to a 2 wheeler city.  Everyone who comes to Pune is forced to buy a 2 wheeler or a car because there is no other viable alternative available for day to day commutation. Pune’s 31 lakh population has 21 lakh registered vehicles. 

I also faced the exact same problem when I came to Pune. Not having a personal vehicle, I started relying on buses. It’s a huge waste of time and money waiting for buses which are low in frequency, with irregular timings and gets cancelled without prior notice. Here I would like to narrate my recent experience.  I usually travel to office via bus 276 which according to the bus conductors comes in an interval of  10-20 min. On Jan 27, I had to wait for more than 1hr 20 min for a bus. After about 1hr 05 min , a bus came which was so full (obviously)  that no one from my stop could enter in that bus. Again I waited for 20 more minutes hoping for a 2nd one, but in vain, finally had to drop my trip. This happened at 10 in the morning which is a rush hour.  Just yesterday I waited for 40 minutes for the same bus – very clearly no schedule/timetable followed. While waiting during both days, I saw minimum 20 buses to MaNaPa, coming at an interval of 2-3 minutes, at times together,  most of them vacant or carrying less people. Large number of empty MaNaPa buses shows the inefficient route planning and  bad scheduling of PMPML.

Parisar did a comparison of bus services in Indian cities in 2012 and  PMPML received an overall ‘C’ grade and a poor score on all parameters. As expected, PMPML’s performance is below average on parameters like regularity, network reach, frequency, breakdown rate and average fare. Its services are unreliable as it has  low regularity and high breakdown rates - more than twice the average break down rate for other cities. It has fewer buses, poorer frequency and fewer bus stops. Moreover, it also charges more than other cities.

The latest Development plan for Pune has a Standard of living Index survey which shows 39.5% population have low standard of living index, 46.9% medium and 13.6% high. So how do these low and medium people commute without corporation providing a reliant, easy public transport? 

This is a simple calculation that shows economics of using public and private modes for my trip:

Option 1-Bus

From - To
Mode
Distance (km)
Fare (Rs)
Time (min)
Comments
Home (Medi point hosp, Aundh) - Bremen Chowk Bus stop
Auto
2.1
30
10
There is a bus stop right outside my society - but have rarely seen a bus there.
Avg bus wait time



45

Bremen Chowk - Law college Rd
Bus
7.4
15
20
Wait time for Bus - 45 minutes
Total

9.5 km
Rs 45
70 min
2 modes
Option 2 - Taxi

From - To
Mode

Fare (Rs)
Time (min)
Comments
Home - Law college Road
Car
8.5
140
30

Wait time for taxi to reach



10

Total

8.5 km
Rs 140
40 min
1 mode
Option 3 - 2 wheeler

From - To
Mode
Distance (km)
Fare (Rs)
Time (min)
Comments
Home - Law college Road
Bike
8.5
40
25

Total

8.5 km
Rs 40
25 min
1 mode


From this, its very clear that I should choose a 2 wheeler with respect to saving time, money and ease of commute if the present public transport system continues. Then why should people use buses?  In pune, 2 wheelers take up almost 60-70% of road space. This  trend is highly unsustainable causing high pollution, congestion, increased accidents, increased carbon footprint making city chaotic.  Only solution to this is efficient PUBLIC transportation. If you increase the frequency of buses, increase the number of bus stops (so that less of para transit - autos- has to be dependent) and provide better routing, then Option 1 becomes the best available option out of the 3.

During the  Smart citie's citizen engagement,  public transportation received maximum voting and was ranked no 1 issue to be solved. When one checks the smart city proposals, its highly disappointing to find the components included. The following components are included for Smart Public transportation: GPS and real-time monitoring of buses, Smart bus stops with public information systems, Real-time tracking of buses through mobile apps, Vehicle health monitoring and intelligent road asset management.

What really Pune's Public transportation requires is:
  • ·         Increased fleet size
  • ·         Better Routing
  •           Expanding the service area
  • ·         Reduction in Off road buses
  • ·         Better Scheduling and  Management

Once this is provided,  rest will make any sense.  Unless otherwise you reduce the 1 hr interval between the buses, what is the point of monitoring it?  Major shock is the money allocation - Out of the total Rs 2932 Crores smart city proposal, only Rs 393 crore (13% ) is for Pan city Transportation. Aundh Baner Balewadi, which was chosen for area development gets 1086 crore for its transportation improvement. Logic ????
  
A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars, it is where the rich use public transportation – Mayor of Bogota


 Kindly share your views here. 

Anu Kuncheria
anukuncheria@gmail.com