An estimated 70 million people in the country travel by bus on city roads, and on intra-city and intra-town routes. They make up 60 per cent of all road passengers. While the numbers are massive, service quality leaves much to be desired. So, what could be better than an effort to enhance...
An estimated 70 million people in the country travel by bus on city roads, and on intra-city and intra-town routes. They make up 60 per cent of all road passengers. While the numbers are massive, service quality leaves much to be desired. So, what could be better than an effort to enhance travelling conditions?
To address the quality, safety and efficiency of public bus systems in India, WRI India Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, with support from transport company FedEx Express, recently announced a competition. Christened the “Better Bus Challenge”, the aim is to encourage innovation in sprucing up the bus travelling experience.
WRI intends to bring together ideas from manufacturers, technology and service providers, mobility entrepreneurs, voluntary organisations, corporates, and transit agencies to “co-create solutions in the public bus sector for greater comfort and service quality.” The challenge will address one of three categories: Operations Management and Efficiency; New Service Models; and Commuter Experience. It will offer the top three solutions a whopping financial award of $50,000 or ₹32,00,000 each. The cash reward will be supplemented with a year-long mentorship to collaborate with transit agencies to design and implement solutions that cater to cities’ needs.
Elaborating on why and how the competition was conceived, O P Agarwal, CEO, WRI India, said, “By 2021, it is estimated that India will need around 650,000 buses to cater to its transit needs. There is a need for decision-makers to broaden their perspective of urban transportation beyond traditional models to identify and implement strategies to meet ever-growing demand in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner.”
He said FedEx and WRI have worked together over the last seven years to assist cities in improving public transportation by addressing issues such as service quality, and fleet and fuel selection and training. Globally, the collaboration has helped nearly five million daily transit users, trained over 9,000 transit professionals, and reduced 63,908 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
“We believe the more connected a community is, the more it thrives. We believe this will encourage stakeholders to create innovative solutions, making bus travel more affordable, accessible and sustainable for everyone,” said Jack Muhs, President, FedEx Express Middle East, Indian subcontinent and Africa.
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