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Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

Bengaluru needs shared mobility, last mile connectivity: Uber-BPAC report

Public transport in Bengaluru has failed to keep up with the demands of its rapidly expanding urban population, says the report

BENGALURU : As traffic woes and the lack of adequate public transport infrastructure continue to ail Bengaluru, a new report points at various measures including shared mobility, better first and last mile connectivity, early electric adoption and promoting public transport over private car ownership.

The joint report ‘Sustainable Mobility in Bengaluru’ was released by ride hailing firm Uber and Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC), a citizen’s advocacy group to promote sustainable mobility in one of India’s most congested cities.

Both Uber and BPAC have urged the Karnataka government to allow aggregators to legally aggregate shared cabs, shared autos, bike pools, private shuttle services and feeder buses in Bengaluru, within the existing contract carriage permit rules.

The report was prepared in collaboration with various mobility startups along with over 500 stakeholders.

In January, as per the TomTom Traffic Index, a report detailing the traffic situation across 417 cities in 57 countries, it was found that Bengaluru stands to be the most traffic congested city in the world in 2019.

Public transport in the city has failed to keep up with the demands of its rapidly expanding urban population. Bengaluru, one of the fastest-growing metropolitan cities in the country, is plagued with the inadequacies of its unsustainable transportation network.

Consequently, the city suffers from lower share in public transport usage, which can be attributed to the steady rise in private vehicle ownership. The share of private vehicles in the city surged by 280% between 2007-2020, that amounts to 2.1-8 million vehicles, the report said.

The public transport infrastructure, which takes up a low 48% usage, is scant to cater to increasing demand in the city. Between 2011 and 2019, the fleet strength of Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) was increased only by 7.89%, whereas the population increased by 32%.

“Uber’s partnership with B.PAC has been invaluable in understanding how we can contribute to improve Bengaluru’s mobility infrastructure. We are always looking to forge innovative partnerships that will help us redefine urban mobility across India. We are confident that our research report will facilitate dialogue amongst stakeholders to discuss the mobility challenges that the city faces and find sustainable solutions to transform the mobility ecosystem in Bengaluru," said Prabhjeet Singh, Director - Operations and Head of Cities, Uber India and South Asia.

Karnataka has seen 33% growth between 2015 and 2019 for new vehicle registrations. The current registration of vehicles in Karnataka stands at 20 million as of September, 2019, of which 41.9% of the vehicles are registered in Bengaluru city.

“While it is important to invest in public transport services, it is also equally important to improve the accessibility to public transport, through excellent first and last mile connectivity facilitated by a strong data sharing framework," the report said.

“…New mobility solutions have a great potential to enhance the usage of public transport. The challenges faced on the regulatory front by the operators in Karnataka while offering new mobility solutions have to be urgently addressed through revision of certain provisions in the Acts," it added.

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