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DATA STORY | 80% Indians feel last mile connectivity key to improve public transport ridership

The report studies three pillars of mobility -- people, infrastructure and sustainability -- to determine the overall health of a city's mobility

Anupa Kujur @AnupaSagarKujur

At a time when mobility is driving economic growth in the country, 80 percent of commuters feel first-and last-mile connectivity holds the key to improve public transport ridership, according to an Ease of Moving Index 2018 report by Ola’s Mobility Institute.

Almost 70 percent of the public transport users currently rely on cabs, autos, and non-motorised transports (NMTs), according to the report. It means users have to either walk or take an auto to reach the nearest public transport service such as a bus stand, local station, or metro terminal.

Commuters believe if the government fills this gap in the first-and-last-mile connectivity, ridership in public transport will go up as around 60 percent of the current non-users will be willing to shift to public transport.

Currently, public transport accounts for 34 percent of the total transportation across India. About 58 percent of the commuters use their personal two or four-wheelers for transportation, while around eight percent of the respondents use shared transportation, according to a report by McKinsey.

Source: Statista.

In India, over  80 percent of commuters use public transport on account of it being affordable, time-saving and convenient. Kolkata offers the most affordable transport services, whereas Delhi provides the most comfortable transport to its citizens, the report by Ola said.

On the cleanliness front, Ahmedabad leads the way in offering cleanest public transport services. Patna tops with the least travel time required to go for work trips as the city is well served by intermediate public transport (IPTs).

Among metro cities, Kolkata leads the ease of mobility index at 5.42, followed by New Delhi (5.32) and Chennai (5.27). Mumbai ranks sixth with an index of 4.95.

The high willingness of passengers to use public transport can be used to make policies catering to specific needs of different users by improving service levels, real-time information, providing clean public transport, improving frequency and better route planning.

Source: Ease of Moving Index Report 2018.

According to a World Bank report, India's rural areas are home to almost 70 percent of India's population but 33 percent of India’s villages do not have access to all-weather roads and remain cut off during the monsoon season. The problem is more acute in India's northern and northeastern states which are poorly linked to the country’s major economic centers.

Good quality infrastructure is critical to ensure ease of moving and infrastructure development has been one of the key interest areas of this government as the allocation has jumped approximately 40 percent in three years. Union Budget for 2018-19 gave a massive push to National Highways as the budgetary allocation was pegged at Rs 71,000 crore, up from Rs 61,000 crore allocated during 2017-18.

Read — Ease of Doing Business 2019: India jumps 23 spots to 77th rank in World Bank's latest report

In the World Bank's latest Ease of Doing Business rankings, India leapfrogged to the 77th rank mainly due to improvement in granting of construction permits. In this segment, it has moved to 52nd position this year from 181.


The jump of 23 notches indicates that the country is moving towards improving mobility. Over 80 percent of the 43,000+ respondents report an improvement in the mobility scenario over the last five years despite rising congestion and travel times. The improvement is mainly on the back of initiatives such as Smart City, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), and Metro rail projects, the report said.

The report studies three pillars of mobility -- people, infrastructure and sustainability -- to determine the overall health of a city's mobility. The Index is aimed at supporting policymakers, planners and practitioners, and businesses to identify mobility requirements of cities in India, challenges faced by the public, and aspirations of the citizens.

"The index comprehensively captures the various parameters that define sustainable mobility along with an emphasis on the future of mobility which includes cashless transactions, technology-based mobility, clean fuels and the need for encouraging non-motorized transportation," Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister, Road Transport and Highways, said in the report.

Among the 20 cities covered in the index, Bhubaneswar leads under the pillar of Infrastructure. Interestingly, the cities with leading scores in infrastructure have performed poorly in building a positive perception of the people on mobility. For instance, Bhubaneswar does not perform well on people’s perception and ranks 16th under the pillar of People.

Read — Exclusive | India moves closer to electric-powered public transport; Fin Min approves Rs 3.5K cr for 10 cities

The report also suggests that citizens are concerned about the environmental issues and they would like their mobility to be environment-friendly. Thus, 75 percent of respondents are of the opinion that electric vehicles could replace conventional vehicles by 2030.

"We are in the midst of a radical transformation in how people and goods move. India has the potential to lead the "mobility economy" and demonstrate a transportation ecosystem that is shared, sustainable, and accessible to all," Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder and CEO of Ola, said.
First Published on Nov 1, 2018 02:34 pm
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