Transport in Mumbai – Critical Issues and Emerging Options

Providing Urban Transport
Infrastructure and Services
in India – Some Concerns
Walchand Hirachand Professor of Transport Economics,
Department of Economics, University of Mumbai
Features of Urban Transport in
Developing Countries
• An estimated 5% to 10% of urban household
income is spent on transport -- and more than
25% for the poorest households in very large cities
• 15 to 25% of city budgets is typically for
• One third of city infrastructure investment is for
transport especially roads
• Even though private capital is now getting
involved in the financing of urban transport
infrastructure, most investments will still have to
come through the city budget.
Some traffic features in our Cities (WSA, 2009)
The share of personalized modes especially of two wheelers have
gone up leaps and bounds clocking 12% per annum in the past two
Sharp decline in the share of public transport over the past two
decades. Some public transport services have been even pushed
out of business.
Operating bus services in congested streets have become
increasingly difficult in congested networks with turn around times
increasing by the day.
Fleet sizes in nearly all public bus undertakings have declined rather
than grow to meet the demand .
Consequently street congestion has dramatically increased and
overall speeds on major corridors
have dropped.
Some traffic features in our Cities
The trip rate in almost all city categories have increased
as expected.
With the increase in the sprawl of the city,
average trip lengths have naturally increased.
Average journey speed on major city
corridors during peak hour (KMPH) is 23
Forecast of Average Journey Speed by
(KMPH) during peak hour would be 7.6 in 2013 (BAU
Some traffic features in our Cities
the decline of Non Mot.Tr. especially cycling.
Congestion, increase in trip lengths due to urban sprawl,
increase in purchase power of people and totally
inadequate facilities for cycling have all contributed to
reducing cycling.
- And for pedestrians our city roads have simply forgotten
they exist. The percentage of roads with pedestrian
footpaths runs to hardly 30% in most cities
Population – Its growth and spread (city size)
Urban Transport Patterns
Public (Mass) Transport – Role
Personalized (Motorized) Transport- Role
Implications – Reduced Access, Congestion,
Pollution, Mobility of Urban Poor
Goods mobility issues
Limited Choices before us
Population – its Growth and Spread
Size of Cities – Much more than economically
considered optimal.
City sprawls further and faster- concept of sprawl- high
dense and not low dense.
Problems suggest that urbanization problems are
complex and that the current approach to urbanisation
which is different from the past needs to be adopted to
provide meaningful solutions.
Are we looking at it afresh? This is looking at purely
from provision of infrastructure – not much emphasis on
this earlier.
Urban Transport Patterns
Major influences on transport patterns at the city
level that are identified in the literature include:
Interaction of transport and urban form and use
and influence of urban planning policy
Infrastructure Investment Choices
Income Changes, Motorization, and Household
location choices
Prices and Economic Instruments
Urban Planning and Transport
NUTP talks of little integration between the two ‘’
transport planning has not received the extent of
attention it should have in drawing up strategic
development and land use plans’’
Development plans are not implemented in any
systematic way
Worse, ad hoc decisions related to FSI
redevelopment), etc, which endanger any sort of
transport planning that is possible
Infrastructure Investment (Public Transport)
Almost everywhere – public transport
systems not planned
Public transport investments thoroughly
Consider Mumbai- virtually no investment
since the 1960s till now
Similar situation in other cities especially
lower tier cities.
Infrastructure Investment (Private Transport)
Basic Inability of Public Transport to meet
Increasing Incomes, vehicle ownership,
Focus on Roads expansion- elevated
roads, flyovers, etc. –useful for private
vehicles with only very limited, effective
attempts to use road space well with bus
lanes, BRTS, etc.
Infrastructure Investment (NMT)
Cycling and walking –Millions of short trip
made even today but very unsafe
NUTP lays a lot of emphasis on NMTbicycling and walk mode
Investments made on these in recent
years at the wrong places or are in the sky
(skywalks) – many examples can be cited.
At some places, we need to take a vehicle
to cross a road
Pricing Issues
Pricing of urban transport has always been
arbitrary- case studies of BEST, Mumbai
suburban rail system, PMPML, TN Urban
SRTUs, etc.
Today, very little attempts made to reform
pricing systems under the guise that no urban
transport system can escape subsidies.
A related matter is efficiency of operations which
is no one’s business. With no benchmarks, no
efficient system of prices can emerge.
Pricing Issues (cont’d)
While basic issues are not sorted out,
congestion pricing schemes are being
extensively talked about, those that can serve
only as complements to main pricing ones.
The Mumbai suburban case – low tariffs (based
on IR ordinary passenger tariffs) , operations
profitable (due to super crush loads) but at high
social costs
Increase in fares can help but additional
revenues hardly ever come back to the system
due to existing institutional arrangements.
Institutional Arrangements
Traditionally, state provision in public bus transport
almost everywhere except some States
Failure of SRTUs due to many factors
Some reforms in the late 1990s and early 2000sderegulation- with entry of private sector- some success
– but limited and highly inadequate
No attempt to follow example of some states which had
private sector operators competing with public sector
and the regulator playing a useful role.
Institutional Arrangements
Under NUTP: PPPs encouraged
Carried forward under JNNURM
Even in a more general context, PPPs
have not been defined properly.
Neither the public entity nor the private
entity concerned understands its
responsibility fully.
People also do not know what to expect
Experience in Maharashtra – not good
Institutional Arrangements
(planning and regulation)
Under NUTP- UMTAs are to be in place
As of now – everything is on paper
Nothing really being taken forward except
for local level coordination being
attempted as in MMRDA which handles
UMTA officially
Reflects situation at the national level –
where no serious macro level coordination
takes place
A moment on ‘’urban goods
Focus of whatever is planned on people’s
very little consideration of proper
movement of goods in urban areas
Confined to a few hours at night and this is
also done very arbitrarily
Huge numbers of heavy vehicles held up
outside urban areas for hours
A moment on ‘’urban goods
mobility’’ (cont’d)
Only small goods vehicles are allowed –
adding to the congestion and pollution
(being followed in case of inter-city buses
especially those belonging to the private
parties which are stopped outside and
passengers moved to smaller vehicles to
go into the city)
Distribution of goods is hindered and truck
capacity is wasted
Choices before us
Look at sprawl of cities and attempt to limit city sizetransport plans would be far more useful then.
Sort out basic pricing issues and then use of other
pricing instruments– inherent is the concept of demand
Emphasis only on investments to build up public
transport systems capacity
To insist on good pedestrian paths on every section of
the road
Coordination of planning and operations a must
Thank You