Author: Sanjiv N. Sahai, MD & CEO, DIMTS Ltd.
Co-author: Simon Bishop, Consultant, DIMTS Ltd.
Jaspal Singh, Dy. Manager, DIMTS Ltd
India’s capital, Delhi, covers an area of nearly 1,483 sq km with a population of almost 16.8 million people. Delhi is the world’s most populous city with a high growth rate of nearly four percent a year, roughly half of which is composed of new migrants searching for economic opportunities and a better quality of life.
A fast growing population, urban sprawl, one of the largest road networks in India (2,103 km/100km sq), and the third highest per capita income level in India, have translated into high levels of demand for motor vehicles. Rising appetites for personal mobility are buttressed by the association of car ownership with high social status. In 2008, there were 5.5 million vehicles in Delhi, the largest number in any world city. Nearly 1,000 more are added on a daily basis. Delhi is likely to be a lucrative vehicle market for years to come as ownership levels are still comparatively low, 85 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants, while the figure is 760 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants in the UK. Neither is road congestion as severe yet as in developed cities of the world, making it harder to introduce policies that restrain car use and encourage bus ridership.
2. Challenges to Bus System Reform
In this context, public transport faces an uphill struggle to compete with private vehicles to cater for rising travel demand. The story of public transport so far in Delhi is one of a gradual decrease in modal share, only partially ameliorated by a new metro network.
The Fig 1 below shows that, between 2001 and 2008, public transport fell from nearly 60% of mode share to little more than 45%, including journeys by metro. More alarmingly bus use fell from 60% to 41.5% of trips. The proportion of walking trips alone is 35%.
Fig 1: Modal Split - % of Person Trips in... [continues]
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