Bengaluru: Committee to examine last-mile connectivity

Bengaluru: Committee to examine last-mile connectivity

The government order asks the panel to examine the benefits of bike taxis. (DH file photo)

Responding to the absence of last-mile connectivity that undermines the city’s public transport system, the state government has formed a high-level committee to look for solutions, including bike taxis.

A government order sets a 15-day deadline for the panel to offer recommendations for an “efficient and sustainable transport system in Bengaluru”.  The panel will include heads of departments associated with transport, including the traffic police, with the managing director, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited, as chairman.

The government order asks the panel to examine the benefits of bike taxis, besides considering other options suggested by the Vidhi Centre for Policy Research.

The panel’s chairman and BMRCL managing director Ajay Seth said it would begin deliberating on the wide mandate set by the government.

“Various options have been mooted by experts and the different departments. We will examine them and submit the effective solutions,” he said.

In July 2017, a report from the World Research Institute (WRI) highlighted a lack of affordable transport to the metro and bus stations, warning that people who live beyond five kilometers from the metro stations are unlikely to prefer public transport.

Experts have also stated that road traffic congestion will continue to affect the city in the absence of last-mile connectivity, despite heavy investment in public transport.

Last year, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation proposed to tie-up with private players to provide last-mile connectivity through a single ticket booked on its digital platform. The corporation is working to pilot the concept in the IT corridor.

Though bike taxis seem like the best solution, the transport department had banned it before citing safety concerns. The BMTC had also complained to the government that commercial operation of two-wheelers might dent its revenue as they offer cheaper rides.

Transport Commissioner V B Ikkeri, who is the member secretary of the committee, said all the issues will be thrashed out in the meeting.

“So far, bike taxis have been allowed in Goa and Haryana. The committee will first see how safe it is and whether it will benefit public transport,” he said.

The department had last year seized a few bikes of an online aggregator offering taxi services. Cab drivers had also expressed concerns about bike taxis taking away their passengers.