Planned multi-modal transport, the only solution

Planned multi-modal transport, the only solution

The app-based cab aggregators may provide transport on demand, but we cannot rely on them for long. Reason: They work more on the principle of making hay while the sun shines rather than providing a reliable transport.
A visit to the Ola and Uber support accounts on social media websites will throw up thousands of complaints regarding charging of exorbitant fares, drivers cancelling the duty, misbehaviour of drivers. Happy riders are rare given that not many bother to express it.

What riders do not seem to realise is the pure business ethics of the aggregators. “While Ola and Uber come to our rescue many a time, we should understand that it is profit and not service that inspires them,” said an industry insider who has written about cab aggregators for scholarly journals.

He noted how Ola and Uber offer a product without taking immediate responsibility. “Everything happens on digital platform. It is as if they are removed from the physical world. But it comes with a price. You just don't know whom to approach when you want to complain,” he said.

While the on-demand transport and ride-sharing help reduce traffic congestion, it is still too expensive for somebody to rely on cab aggregators.

In the UITP conference in March, Lewis M Fulton, Director, Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways Programme, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, had said, “For metropolitan cities facing ever-growing traffic snarls, the solution is an efficient public transport driven by data.”

Stressing the need for multi-modal transport solutions in cities, Rajarshi Sahai, a strategy consultant with specialisation in smart cities, remembers the incident at WRI India's 2016 conference on transport. There, he was "the neutral party between public bus service providers on one side and private bus aggregators on the other.”

“Interestingly, both sides together were still too short in meeting the demand for public transport,” he said.
Bengaluru’s chaotic and unplanned growth in the last few decades has made it difficult for people to access even basic needs. In this scenario, different modes of transport, both public and private, are necessary to fulfil the mobility needs of commuters.

This system should be aided by sound data on travel patterns, gaps in connectivity and needs of commuters. As a starter, authorities should take steps to integrate BMTC with Namma Metro.


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