Experts for unified transport authority

Stakeholders of the city’s transport on Tuesday agreed that rapid urbanisation is throwing up mobility issues, which can only be addressed by a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA).

At the stakeholders’ workshop conducted by NGO, Praja RAAG, officials from various departments were convinced of the need for UMTA at the level of Bangalore Metropolitan Region Authority (BMRDA).

“Putting the UMTA at the level of BDA or BBMP will destroy its purpose. It will become another coordination committee giving ad-hoc solutions instead of fixing the problems permanently,” said Sathya Sankaran, Praja RAAG member and founder of Citizen for Sustainability.

The divide between different agencies dealing with different issues that arise due to urbanisation makes it impossible to arrive at permanent solutions. “UMTA should have experts and skilled persons who can take initiatives based on data to bridge gaps and provide long-lasting solutions,” he said.

UMTA will take holistic initiatives without separating transport from urban planning. “Presently, Metro and BMTC buses operate in a vacuum. No study has been done before or after commencing the Metro to see travel pattern and understand the needs. This happens due to the lack of an integrated approach to mobility needs,” Sankaran said.

The Centre has suggested forming of UMTA in cities with population above 10 lakh back in 2008. Experts have said that though Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad and even Jaipur have set up the authorities, cities in Karnataka have failed to get one due to the lack of willingness on the part of governments.

Urban Development Department additional chief secretary Mahendra Jain, BMTC managing director Ekroop Caur, urban affairs experts Ravichander and Ashwin Mahesh, Vinay Sreenivasa of ALF participated in the workshop.

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