Saturday, April 1

City gets a grip on commute, thanks to cycles, more buses

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For the first time, since offices resumed just around a fortnight ago, the commute scene in Kolkata was nearly normal on Thursday with much shorter queues and wait time for buses. Multiple factors — such as improved efficiency in fleet management by STUs, more private buses on the road and shift to bicycles by a sizeable number of citizens — contributed to it.
“WBTC ran 1,094 buses on 177 routes on Thursday, serving the most crowded routes with greater frequency. This led to significant reduction in waiting time for passengers. Moreover, 3,000 private buses complemented the service. Thanks to real-time data, we could avoid competing with private buses,” said an official of the transport corporation. A large number of passengers, according to the transport department, shifted to bike taxis and bicycles.

“For the first time since lockdown restrictions were eased, I did not have to wait more than 15 minutes to board a bus. Things have been improving over the last few days. So, it was not completely unexpected. But I am really happy not to jostle for a foothold,” said Sarmistha Saha, an investment counsellor with a share trading agency. She used to travel by app cabs in the initial days of Unlock 1.0 and had burned a big hole in her pocket.

Real-time data driven service resolved the mobility crisis of the city to a great extent. The transport department on Tuesday deployed buses on the basis of such data. It deployed more buses where demand surged, fewer buses where demand was low. This helped STUs tide over the problem with limited resources, said a senior transport department officer.

Thanks to the smart transport system, the department has a wealth of information on the demand and supply. “In the initial days of Unlock 1.0, we were taken aback by the sudden jump in demand. Now, we are better equipped to handle the pressure,” he said.

With Bengal slowly easing back to normalcy, 10,431 buses plied on Thursday in the rest of Bengal. Interestingly, private high-end buses started plying along with government buses. As many as 200 private AC buses efficiently served 24 routes.

Autos also plied across the city. Nearly 40,000 autos plied on 400+ routes on Thursday. On some routes, auto drivers demanded double the normal fare by reducing one passenger while others carried four passengers.
Source:Times of India

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