The year 2017 was one of the progressing years for the development of public transport in India. In December 2016, UITP wished that Government of India and other stakeholders should make 2017 as Mobility Year for India. The government should commit more investment towards the development of Public Transport Infrastructure in cities.
Interestingly, there has been some momentum in the development of public transport network in the cities. India needs more investment in public transport infrastructure and should follow partnership approach with private players to promote the public transport.
The details of key initiatives in year 2017 are:
1. Smart Cities
Smart Cities Mission is an urban renewal and retrofitting program by the Government of India with a mission to develop 100 cities (the target has been revised to 109 cities) all over the country making them citizen friendly and sustainable. Government of India (GoI) selected 90 cities under Smart Cities Mission in 2017. The government has planned to invest INR 1.91 trillion (US$ 30 billion) for the 89 cities under the mission. As per the proposed investment, 80% of the funds would be spent on area-based development (ABD) and remaining 20% of the funds on ICT Solutions. Many cities have proposed investment in smart mobility projects including bike sharing network and smart card.
Government of India commenced the construction work of the High Speed Rail (HSR) project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, a distance of 508 km, out of which 55.6 km of the proposed alignment falls in Maharashtra, 350.5 km in Gujarat and 2 km in UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The total cost of the project is estimated around US$ 17 billion (INR 1.08 trillion). The project is funded by JICA, committing about 85% of the total cost of the project as loan with an interest rate of 0.1% and a moratorium of 15 years and repayment period of 50 years. The remaining cost will be borne by the state governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat. The construction of the corridor is expected to be completed by August 2022 and the bullet train is expected to go on its first run on 15 August 2022 on the occasion of India's 75th Independence Day.
In 2017, three (3) new cities - Kochi, Lucknow and Hyderabad got their first metro line. Further, metro network was expanded in Bangalore and Delhi with the opening of new lines. However, the major reform was initiated by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) by unveiling new Metro Rail Policy 2017 (download the copy) was officially released on 15 September 2017. The new policy focused on ‘development of integrated public transport network’, ‘Make in India and’ and ‘Private Participation’ in metro rail projects.
Government of India is aggressively pursuing the strategy for the introduction of electric vehicles in India. In September 2017, the government extended FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric Vehicles) subsidy to electric buses. Shimla introduced the electric buses for commercial use in October 2017, followed by BEST Mumbai started the operation of 6 electric buses in Mumbai in November 2017. Further, Ola launched a pilot project in Nagpur, Maharashtra to operate multi-modal electric fleet operation. In December 2017, the government has selected 11 cities for pilot project for multi-modal public transport network.
Year 2017 was another big years for new mobility players around the world. Collectively, taxi aggregators (or TNCs or Ride-sharing apps) have raised more than $17 billion in 2017, majority of which is raised by Uber, Didi, Grab and Ola. In 2017, ANI Technologies (OLA) raised a funding of US$1.1 billion, led by Tencent Holdings Limited, Soft Bank Group. On-demand transport market is growing rapidly in urban cities in India as the demand for mobility growing. Meru Cabs is pioneer for creating organised taxi service in India with call center. The company is still one of the largest radio taxi companies in the world and has also adopted new technologies to provide on-demand service. However, the emergence of new technology players has changed the landscape of taxi market in India, as the market has grown from 100,000 trips/day in 2012 to 25 million trips/day in 2017.
6. Dockless (or Free Float) Bike Sharing
Bike-sharing is emerging as next transport options in India with the entry of international players like OfO and Mobike (in process), as well as, domestic players like Ola Pedal, Zoomcar PEDL, InMobi Yulu, Mobycy, WheelStreet and Chartered Bike. The concept is gaining popularity as dockless bikes, smart bikes, and cycle sharing have started seeing traction. Dockless bike sharing allows user to pick the bike from nearest location using the smartphone app and can leave it anywhere. The bike app is used to unlock bike and make the payment. The concept is new and will need support from policy maker. China and Singapore has already designed legal framework for dockless bike sharing system. China now has around 70 bike-sharing brands, with more than 16 million bicycles on streets nationwide and 130 million users (Source: Ministry of Transport, China). The concept is relatively new in India.
We hope that investment in public transport sector will pickup pace in year 2018 and will help to shift users from private transport to public transport.