A workshop on bus terminals and support facilities.
With support from the Ministry of Urban Development, under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) scheme, many cities have initiated or expanded their city bus operations. However, there is a growing recognition that successful city bus operations also depend on the quality of support infrastructure.
Talking Transit, a two-day workshop, co-hosted by EMBARQ India and the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), with logistics support from the Institute of Urban Transport (IUT), reviewed and discussed best practices in designing bus terminals, stops, depots and other facilities for improving the quality of urban bus services. More than 50 people attended the workshop, with representation from 15 cities, four state planning agencies, two national planning bodies, three private bus operators and two academic institutions and private agencies.
This workshop marked the launch of Bus Karo Plus, an EMBARQ India program designed as a peer-to-peer learning network for public transport providers in Indian cities. The aim of Bus Karo Plus is for at least 20 Indian cities to have more than 40 percent of motorized trips take place in public transportation by 2016. In addition to Talking Transit, a workshop series, the other elements of the Bus Karo Plus program include Mentoring Transit (assisting agencies in implementing pilot projects) and Learning Transit (developing and disseminating training material.)
Amit Bhatt, EMBARQ India’s strategy head for Integrated Urban Transport, presented the program as a network that will be developed to share best practices and learnings, and implement pilot projects that can improve service provision. This program is supported by a grant from FedEx Corp., and this workshop was also supported by the British High Commission.
Ashwin Mahesh, CEO of Mapunity, gave the inaugural address stressing on the need to make decisions based on the vision of what cities hope to achieve with public transport, with a firm understanding of route creation and route rationalization.
“Having invested in an idea, it is important to follow through on that idea in order to derive its full value," Mahesh said, speaking on the importance of transit orientation and the need for ensuring safety and convenience of pedestrians at major intersections.
Derek Trusler, fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and a transport architect and managing director of dT|architecture Pty Ltd., Australia, gave an overview of international best practices in bus stop and terminal design. Derek talked of some key elements that influence the design of terminal and bus stations.
Vijay Arya, Arya Architects, and Abhijit Lokre, Associate Professor, CEPT, presented on Janmarg, Ahmedabad’s successfully operating bus rapid transit (BRT) system.
While Vijay spoke from a design point of view, Abhijit explained the functioning of the BRT, and the research and planning processes involved in setting up a successful system. “The bus shelter is the place where people come into contact with the system, and has the possibility of becoming the identity of the system,” Vijay said, speaking on branding and identification, and the challenges of transitioning people smoothly into the system, ensuring they feel safe and secure. Janmarg runs a system that transports almost 2,600 passengers during peak hour and peak direction. Abhijit spoke on average speeds, road widths and using innovative solutions like elevation and one-ways that would make the system most effective.
They stressed on adaptive designs in a localized context, taking climatic conditions and other local factors into consideration and incorporating them into the design and infrastructure of the system.
“Lots can be adapted from examples of BRTs around the world, but it is local innovations that provide answers for the way forward in every city,” Abhijit said.
EMBARQ India staff presented on various aspects of bus systems and operations. Speaking on closed station versus open station designs, Ashwin Prabhu, Associate – Urban Transport, EMBARQ India, said, “Closed stations help with fare and schedule integration in city bus operations due to the minimal need for ticket validation and optimal placement of complimentary bus services resulting in low dwell times and quick transfers.”
“ITS systems help improve planning of bus operations and performance monitoring by providing accurate data on loading patterns, hourly profiles, trip lengths and real-time tracking of buses,” said Prashanth Bachu, Project Manager – Urban Transport, EMBARQ India, giving an overview of the role of technology in managing public transport.
“Decisions on selection of vehicles and fuels used should be based on life cycle emissions and costs," said Umang Jain, Associate – Urban Transport, EMBARQ India, speaking on the perception of compressed natural gas (CNG) versus diesel and the lack of available research on vehicles and fuels.
KN Ingalagi presented on behalf of K.R. Srinivasa (IAS), Managing Director, BMTC, the details about the work of his corporation in running a successful and profit-making city bus operation. This was followed by a panel discussion on depots and support infrastructure, facilitated by Abhijit Lokre and had representatives from other agencies, including Jaspal Singh (Star Bus, Delhi), Jagdish Babu, (APSRTC), Prem Kumar (MTC Chennai) and Prasanna Patvardhan (Purple Mobility Solutions Ltd). The panelists stressed upon the need for depots in effective operation of city buses.
The final session for Day 1 had presentations from other cities on the successes and challenges of creating support infrastructure. This session was facilitated by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Professor, Department of Transport Planning, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, and included Rajan Vishal, IAS (MD, Jaipur City Transport Corporation Ltd.), Rohit Khandelwal (DGM, Naya Raipur Development Authority), Rahul Shrouti (Manager, Atal Indore City Transport Corporation Ltd.), and BK Panda (Director UDD, Meghalaya). The panelists spoke of the challenges involved in city bus operators and the need for support infrastructure in facilitating the city bus operation.
Day 2 of Talking Transit started with a session by Derek Trusler on the principles and thought processes that should be involved in designing stations and terminals for bus-based systems, using the Silk Board Junction, Bangalore, as a case study. Susan Zielinski, Director, SMART, University of Michigan, held an interactive break-out session on mapping the mobility grid and the hubs within it, with an emphasis on connectivity in order to create integrated transit hubs.
The workshop ended with a site visit to BMTC’s Shanti Nagar bus terminal and the adjoining bus depot. BMTC owns a total of 85 bus stations and depots, and operates 6,104 buses, carrying more than 5 million passengers per day.
EMBARQ India will now work towards facilitating peer-to-peer learning by organizing additional workshops over the next few years covering a wide variety of topics related to improving public bus service provision.
- Presentations from the workshop
- Bus Karo: A Guidebook on Bus Operations and Planning
- EMBARQ India’s work in Bangalore
- EMBARQ and India’s Urban Future
- EMBARQ India and BMTC
A version of this post originally appeared on EMBARQIndia.org.