The road ahead for improving the present scenario of the transport sector is to make way for electric vehicles and ensure zero emission, says Abhay Damle, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, as he puts spotlight on the challenges faced in introducing green mobility solutions and measures taken by the government to mitigate those, in an interview with Souvik Goswami and K C Mishra of Elets New Network (ENN).
What are the major challenges in the public transport sector in India?
Public transport has always been a major challenge. We are growing very fast when it comes to metros and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) solutions. When it comes to buses, we are unable to take the lead. Firstly there are regulatory issues as the private sector has not been allowed to play a major role in this area, whereas the capacity of the state road undertakings is limited. Secondly, the state road undertakings are burdened with huge losses. If you look at the last 20 years, public transport has witnessed hardly two percent growth whereas the private mobility sector has seen a huge jump of over 10 percent on a yearly basis. There is a need for improving public transport and getting the private sector on board and making them follow rules and have a congenial environment.
What are the steps taken towards mitigating these challenges?
The ministry has come up with the guidelines of shared mobility and this has been an area where we have seen massive transportation whether it is the taxi or e-rickshaw segment. Wherever we have been able to generate the permit, which in itself is an artificial scarcity, then there is no challenge. There is another issue of availability of good quality buses. The ministry has recently come up with the standard where the quality of buses in India has been upgraded with a considerable user experience in mind. We hope that the new buses will have better acceleration, power and comfort for the users and that is something that will draw the customers to the buses. It must also be noted that the two-wheelers offer major competition to the public transport in the urban sectors and cards in the inter-city sectors.
Is there any plan for global collaborations?
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