Academic journal article Researchers World

Changing Profile of State Transport Undertakings in Mass Transport Services: A Case of Kolkata City

Academic journal article Researchers World

Changing Profile of State Transport Undertakings in Mass Transport Services: A Case of Kolkata City

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Dimensions of transport development in the city of Kolkata go through different phases and processes of socio-economic and political alteration. On the verge of modal transformation of road based Mass Transport Services (MTS) in the late fifties of the last century, both government and private buses dominated over the trafficscape of Kolkata. But the gradual privatization of bus services in the changing socio - political scenario engulfed the government organizations which ultimately lost its spectrum on the National State Transport (NST) scenario. At present the subsidy based State Transport Undertakings (STUs) of Kolkata is unable to cater the growing passenger demand even within the magnetic core of this city. The gradual deterioration of the government bus services should be revived in order to maintain the traffic balance, not only with the private buses of this city but also with other STUs of India. Hence, this paper attempts to compare and contrast the changing conditions of STUs with private bus services by analyzing its network affectivity, fickle economic performance and socio - political constraints in spatio - temporal framework. Attempt has also been made to identify the possible way outs and examine the veracity to survive and revive the STCs in the city of Kolkata.

Keywords: MTS, STUs, Private Buses, Network affectivity, Economic Performance.

INTRODUCTION:

The urban space of Kolkata city has a highly complex traffic pattern characterized by a multimodal public and private mass transport system. Basically, mass transportation in any city has unparalleled importance in the overall transportation system as improved levels of personal income and socio - economic expansion contribute to demand for increased mobility. Simpson (1980) has defined mass transport as "any means of passenger transport available to anybody without restrictions as to membership of any group, provided that the conditions of the operator are met, including payment." It may be a public property or privately owned and run regularly with a carrying capacity of minimum 20 passengers to a time table. Inter and intra regional mass transport services for comparatively shorter distance are usually provided by buses and railway services. The public mass transport system is usually considered synonymous to transport for the poor. But recent studies in the developed countries have proved that it could be equally popular with the rich people (Blumenburg and Crane, 2004). Despite this fact, mass transport is comparatively more essential for the majority of the people in the developing countries, who have limited access or no access to a car or personalized vehicle or who cannot afford costly modes (Turton and Black, 2001). Kolkata is not an exception.

The centralized transport system of Kolkata Metropolitan City exhibits the dependency on mass transport services. In the multimodal mass transport system of Kolkata, both road based modes viz. buses, both state owned and private, mini buses, trams; and rails viz. suburban, circular and metro act as major modes of mass transport services. But Kolkata has a unique distinction of satisfying 13.10 million passengers (56 percent of the total passengers) on an average week day through road based mass transport services in comparison to the 4.70 million passengers (20 percent of the total passengers) through railway in 2011 (Table - 1). Such variation reveals the primacy of road based mass transport services at the city core. The extent of availability of and accessibility to such road based mass transport reflects the level of actual and potential mobility of people. Although the road based mass transport system in most of the developing cities is dominated by the public sector companies with certain degree of privatization, but such condition get reversed in case of Kolkata. Both government owned and private buses and trams are the major road based public transport modes of Kolkata. …

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