Y The Karnataka government has once again announced the creation of a United Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) for Bengaluru. UMTA could transform the way urban transport is planned and operate in the city. However, we also need to consider the fact that this is not the first time for UMTA to be designed for Bengaluru. Such an attempt was also made earlier, but the project failed to win great success.
The majority of Bengaluru vehicles are privately owned (five million two-wheeled and 1.4 million four wheeler, from 2017, for a population of around 12 million). This trend has had significant support from the institutional organization for urban transport. Prioritizing high corridors, steel coatings and signal signal corridors shows tilt towards disorder facilities rather than prudent, sustainable mobility. Such proposals would lead to increased congestion, pollution and other negative consequences in future years.
Bengaluru's history of multiple (and often competing) transport agencies is a major reason for such unsustainable projects to be offered and implemented. In order to avoid such situations, Bengaluru needs to have a unified agency, UMTA, who would have the power to invest in sustainable transport projects.
The previous attempt was made to create an UMTA, known as the Bangalore Transportation Metropolitan Authority (BMLTA) in 2007. It has been created along the lines of the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) and is intended to determine investments in sustainable urban transport systems.
He was formed as a committee led by the First Secretary, with the Commissioner, the Urban Land Transport Directorate (DULT) as the member's adviser. Heads of various public transport agencies in Bengaluru and other state government departments such as transport department, finance department and urban development department were members of the committee.
Although BMLTA was published with the best intentions, it did not stop. The main challenge was that it had no financial and legislative power to make decisions regarding transport planning. Planning and implementation of urban transport still remained with the individual agencies.
A second challenge to the BMLTA was the weak organizational arrangement. Many organizations did not take part in the effort.
Although erstwhile BMLTA has been planned along the lines of Singapore LTA – as the proposed UMTA – there are fundamental differences among these agencies. LTA is a land transport planning authority and has the power to plan land use. In Bengaluru, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) owns this power.
LTA also has the authority to plan the public transport network while individual agencies are service providers. In Bengaluru, service providers such as BMTC and BMRCL plan and operate agencies. The state government has little support to pay for the operational losses of these agencies.
Therefore, it is clear that the UMTA is successful, that it requires financial and legislative authority as well as independent professional management. Such a powerful agency would have the power to determine the nature of the transport investments for the city.
From a financial perspective, the proposed UMTA should be able to finance operational and capital costs. Mechanisms such as non-petrol / diesel, congestion fees and consumer charges on cabin commissioners can feed into an urban transport fund to cover operational costs. On the other hand, capital costs would require funding from governments both centrally and centrally.
Given that the UMTA would be a technical agency responsible for transport planning for the metropolitan area, it would benefit from a technocrat picking it up, together with a team of staff that are eligible in technical.
If the proposed agency is to be successful, some key issues need to be addressed first. The state and central governments should subscribe to the key principles of sustainable transport, and translate those to capital investments. In addition, transport agencies such as BMTC and BMRCL would need to reconcile themselves to the fact that they are service providers and not planning agencies.
We hope these points will be considered, which would lead to the establishment of a successful transport authority for Bengaluru.
(Trupti Deshpande is Research Analyst and Vivek Vaidyanathan as a Research Scientist at the Bengaluru Science, Technology and Policy Center of Study [CSTEP], research tank thinking policy. The views expressed in the ESSEPs. The authors can be contacted at [email protected]
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