A mobility study carried out countrywide has Kolkata poised favourably among metro cities with commuters giving a thumbs up to the public transport infrastructure here for its diversity, affordability and , cleanliness. Days before Ola Mobility Institute releases India’s first Ease of Moving Index, a sneak-peek into the results of the study that had 43,000 respondents shows that Kolkata has topped the charts in these three areas while finishing third in usage and safety on public transport.
The city bagged top marks for travel choice with the country’s first Metro, only tram service, a large fleet of government and private buses, ferries, cabs, autorickshaws and rickshaws. “There is no dearth of choice when it comes to travelling in Kolkata. Even when the rest of the city shuts down owing to a political rally, the Metro keeps it moving. It is also the only city to sport a green and clean public transport system like the tramways,” remarked mobility expert S M Ghosh.
Respondents also rooted for Kolkata’s affordable travel network, but transport experts pointed out that it was a double-edged sword with low fares proving a challenge in maintaining services. With the minimum fare for Metro at Rs 5 and buses at Rs 7, it is nearly half that of other metros.
The new fleet of government buses has also had an impact on commuter perception with Kolkata beating other cities in the cleanliness index, a change from the grime-coated fleet that operated till a decade ago.
In safety, Kolkata has finished third behind Delhi and Bengaluru, the former proving a surprise and scoring points for its well-networked Metro that has hugely altered public transport in Delhi. Kolkata has also finished third in the index for public transport usage behind Chennai and Hyderabad. The only reason why Kolkata hasn’t topped in this criteria is the large number of people who either walk or use cycles. Private vehicle usage in Kolkata is the least among metros.
A study by Centre for Science and Environment released earlier this year had pegged Kolkata’s public transport the best among metros in terms of low-carbon mobility. “Among Indian megacities, Kolkata emits least due to high usage of public transport and walking. Kolkata also has short travel distances due to its compact form,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director-research and advocacy, CSE.
Source: Times of India