Lack of integration main cause of traffic congestion

Lack of integration main cause of traffic congestion

Citizens for Civic Amenities

Lack of coordination among various transport utilities has become a major hurdle in finding solutions to the city’s mobility problems.

It has been over a decade since the Union government suggested setting up of the United Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) for effective urban mobility services. The Integrated Road Transport Authority (IRTA), the boiled-down version of UMTA, is yet to take off six months after being announced in the state budget by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

As a result, transport services in the city have remained disjointed with each corporation working in silos. Different departments headed by different ministers monitor the corporations, further complicating operations. The final nail was hammered by the previous government, which removed the head of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) from the board of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL).

Despite the headwinds, BMTC still clocks a daily ridership of 42 lakh, which is more than half of the estimated travelling population.

However, it has no say over the bus shelters. Built by BBMP, shelters focus more on advertisement revenue than serving passengers.

The government spent Rs 13,845 crore on Phase 1 of Namma Metro but most of its stations do not have dedicated bus bays to help passengers switch between Metro and buses. The revised cost of Phase 2, estimated at Rs 32,000 crore, will take investment on Metro to nearly Rs 50,000 crore. However, without an authority that can integrate different services, the first and last-mile connectivity remains elusive.

This has led to the people preferring private vehicles.

Asked about the delay in forming IRTA, sources said there was confusion between over who should form the authority. “The Urban Development Department has recently written to the Transport Department, proposing to set up IRTA with the chief minister as the chairman. But some are questioning whether the chief minister can spare time for an organisation that needs a hands-on approach,” the source said.

A senior official said IRTA would be ineffective if restricted to road transport.

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