India ready to embrace public transport based on London model: Gadkari

India ready to embrace public transport based on London model: Gadkari

In a step up to the future Union minister Nitin Gadkari has said India should embrace electric and bio-fuel based transport vehicles, which are cost effective, pollution free and cut on import bill on petroleum products.

Gadkari said India’s public road transport will be developed on London model against a backdrop where share of buses has shrunk to 1 per cent of the total vehicles from 15 per cent earlier. Efforts are on to introduce skybuses on select stretches with the help of an Austrian firm, the road transport minister said, according to a report in PTU.

Besides, the government has taken steps to push projects of water transport, broad gauge metro and electric buses, Gadkari said. "Once upon a time public transport buses accounted for 15 per cent of the total vehicles. Now it has come to 1 per cent...The success story of London transport should be inspiration and motivation for all state operators in India, which have become economically unviable barring a few," the minister said. 
The minister said the London model of transportation system where 17 private operators have joined hands to offer services did not require investment and was a professional one and could offer solutions for frequent traffic jams, pollution and accidents here. He also said that World Bank can come out with a total public transport vision for India and added that public sector Wapcos which has inked a joint venture with Austria's Doppelmayr has prepared two project reports for skybuses in India.

"One is for Bikaner and another is for Aurangabad. Skybus, cable cars and ropeways will be there... Now technically we are in position to prepare the project report and DPR (detailed project report) and capital cost for it is less than Rs 50 crore with a capacity of more than 70,000 per hour ...Public transport is essential," he said. He said, using ethanol and methanol is also a good option and cited the example of Nagpur, where bio-CNG is being produced from fruit, mutton waste, etc. 

For intercity transport, he advocated adopting broad-gauge metro, for which rolling stock is readily available and said such services could easily be introduced on stretches like Delhi-Ludhiana, Delhi-Saharanpur and Delhi-Agra. He said studies suggest that against the construction cost of Rs 350 crore per kilometre for traditional metro, it comes to only Rs 3 crore for broad-gauge metro. The minister also said the Maharashtra government has agreed to introduce 2,000 electric buses in the state. In Nagpur, there are 35 ethanol buses, Gadkari said and added that "import of crude oil is a big economic problem for our country". He said the plan is to convert all 450 buses on ethanol in Nagpur.