Published On : Fri, Jul 17th, 2020

NGO Parisar launches nationwide campaign to improve bus-based public transportation

Parisar is an NGO working in the field of environmental awareness, education and action since its formation in the early 1980s. Since around 1995, Parisar’s work has been concentrated on sustainable urban transport, for it recognizes that unsustainable transport policies and transport infrastructure are the foremost threat to urban environment and quality of life for the majority of citizens.

Parisar, on behalf of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Network (SUM Net), is launching a nation-wide and state-wide campaign “लाख को पचास” to raise demands that the Government must commit to substantially improve bus-based public transport in all cities (Municipal Corporations) to achieve the target of having at least 50 buses per lakh population. SUM Net is a democratic, secular and membership-based coalition of individuals, voluntary organizations,and civil society networks and movements. SUM Net seeks to improve the overall quality of life for all by securing deeply democratic processes of decision-making to ensure that urban transportation systems are universally accessible, socially just, safe and secure, economically viable, and environmentally sound. Over the last 10 years, SUM Net has been working in different cities to build civil society understanding and voice about sustainable mobility.

SUM Net recognizes the importance of Bus Based Public Transport (BBPT) in Indian cities and aspires to raise the pitch for BPPT at the national and state level. Bus based public transport plays an important role in providing access to education,employment, business activities and a social life. An efficient, flexible and responsive city bus based public transport system can help citizens save time and money by providing safe, accessible, affordable,
comfortable services. There are co benefits of climate change mitigation and better air quality in the city.

Mobility brought by an efficient public transportation system is the indispensable right of every citizen. However, not a single city in Maharashtra has an adequate public transport system.

Maharashtra, a state with a population of over 11.42 crores and 23 municipal corporations fails to meet a basic requirement of 50 buses per one lakh of the population in several cities including Nagpur the 13th largest city in India with a nearly 2.5 million population. Over 1.50 lakh commuters use the city bus service daily. Of the over 500 buses plying every day, at least 200 have already completed 10 years ; overcrowding, accidents, infrequent services, timings, low capacity utilization, poor accountability, and lack of sanitation stem from managerial
inefficiency are a few of the many issues that plague the public bus service in Nagpur.

The need has come to address these issues and establish a bus service that is environmentally sound, safe,
efficient, and accessible by all. Parisar’s statewide campaign “लाख को पचास” strives to do just this. “लाख को पचास” aims at identifying needs at the grassroots level and strives to work towards the establishment of an efficient and reliable public bus system. The primary goal of the campaign is to ensure that 50 buses per lakh population are made available. The stepping stone to achieving this goal, is ensuring that public transport is made mandatory in all cities across the state. The campaign’s goal is not limited to raising the number of buses but additionally advocates for a benchmark in terms of quality, safety, and cleanliness that must be met by the fleet of buses across the state. Such benchmarks are to be identified and policies must be implemented to ensure the actualization of set goals. The public bus service is more than just the bus itself, staff and infrastructure supporting the service play a key role in determining the quality of the service being provided, therefore, staff training programs and infrastructural investments are indispensable to an efficient public bus service.

Demands of the Nation-wide campaign
1. Make provision of public transport mandatory for all Corporations
2. Set target of 50 buses per lakh population phase-wise increase
3. State to encourage PPP model
4. To reduce financial burden on Corporation
5. State-ULB VGF sharing model with GCC contracts
6. Create a State-level Public Transport Authority for monitoring, evaluation, commuter
7. Create a State-level Centre of Excellence for capacity building, planning .
The Maharashtra state-wide campaign running across six cities Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur,
Amravati and Aurangabad. Our primary target to put forth the demands is Shri. Uddhav
Thackerey, Chief Minister Maharashtra.
The campaign includes
● Online petition- 10,000 signatures
● Letter to CM endorsed by 50-60 organisations
● Connect to MPs/MLAs/Party leaders
● Raise issue and demand in Monsoon Session of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
● Organise city dialogue program in six cities
● State level webinar
Local Consultation Program
Parisar believes that active public engagement hand in hand with the demands of the campaign can transform the public bus service into a service that meets the need for all. Parisar recognizes that only a varied perspective on city-specific city bus issues, commuter demands, and steps that are to be taken to achieve the goal of 50 buses per lakh population can help shape a campaign that is the right fit for all.

The local consultation program aims to gain the holistic view of the Nagpur city bus transportation through a webinar. The webinar offers concerned stakeholders a platform to shed light on areas that require immediate attention. Parisar believes that the contributions by various stakeholders as representatives of the areas of transportation, environment, gender and social development coupled with the first hand experiences of commuters will broaden the campaign’s approach to make it truly inclusive, addressing the needs of all.

The demand of the campaign can not only accelerate the social life of various stakeholders but also increase the productivity in their fields. Nagpur is recognised amongst the Top 10 fastest growing cities in India and through this campaign directly and indirectly is contributing to the growth of the city.

We would like to be associated with you as our social media partner for the campaign. You can help us work towards our goal of establishing a safe and reliable urban bus-based public transport system for all. We cordially invite all the members of your social media page. We believe that your contribution will further enhance the success of our campaign. People like you enable us to take a step ahead therefore we hope to stay connected with you throughout the course of our journey.

Thank you in advance. I look forward to hearing from you