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Sustainability of public transport – BMTC example
 
Focus areas: Mitigation/Adaptation
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Location: Bangalore, India
Established: August 1997
Public sector transportation services in India have long been beset with problems, particularly with the change to a market economy and a more bottom-line oriented mindset.

However, the city of Bangalore has managed to buck this trend, by developing initiatives for its mass transit system that have made it a profitable enterprise for the last 12 years. These initiatives included: management reforms, which introduced practices such as public private partnership, prompt payment discounts, and extensive use of information technology; passenger friendly initiatives: which included grid routes, direction oriented services, and improved accessibility for commuters and improved distribution points for transport passes; and improved employee relations, where a comprehensive labour welfare plan was enacted to improve industrial relations and maintain the peace.

The results speak for themselves: there has been an continuous increase in commuter numbers, better industrial relations, customer satisfaction survey placed it top among the country’s transport systems (it had a 96 per cent customer satisfaction rate in 2006). In addition the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation has won more than 45 awards for innovations at the local, regional, national and international levels. 

Mitigation / Adaptation

Benefits

Potential for scaling-up and replication

The initiatives taken up by the BMTC addressed the challenges of privatization, liberalization and globalization arose out of a change in economic scenario. The result has been a change from the worse to the first in terms of managing public transportation conditions. The activity proved  how a multilateral approach incorporating public and private sector involvement could turn an ailing public transportation system into a model of profit making, employee relations and customer satisfaction. The social and environmental benefits the BMTC activity include:
• Innovative finance – borrowing at low interest rates, access to government projects and infrastructure funds;
• Consultancy services to the community. Empty depots were used during the day for coaching and training, these empty areas were later turned over for commercial use;
• Commuter friendly initiatives, including special buses for women, expansion of suburban services to reach rural populations, enhanced access to slum dwellers through routes and stops near those areas; and more night services.
The success of the BMTC initiatives has served as a role model to other transportation operators in India to attain sustainability without much in the way of government support. The recognition of this work in the local, regional, national and international arena has also helped with the spread of its practices. India based transportation systems which have adopted these initiatives have achieved similar results – that of economic sustainability, increased passenger numbers and high employee satisfaction.
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Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation;