Academic journal article Researchers World

Tramways - an Eco - Friendly Mode of Mass Transportation: A Case of Kolkata

Academic journal article Researchers World

Tramways - an Eco - Friendly Mode of Mass Transportation: A Case of Kolkata

Article excerpt


The principal function of any transit system is to carry passengers efficiently and in large numbers. Tramcars stand out in comparison to other vehicular modes within the transport system of Kolkata for its uniqueness. This cheap, electrically operated pollution-free mode, having a high carrying capacity is the most viable option for crowded cities like Kolkata. Slow though it may be, it ensures a safe journey through the madding crowd. Populated cities of the world are reviving the Tramways system since it runs on electricity and has a high carrying capacity. However the situation in Kolkata is quite different. There is a constant rise in passenger demand but the proportion met by tramways system has been decreasing over the years, particularly because of the strong competition it has to face with buses. Undoubtedly thus the Calcutta Tramways Company has been running at a loss for quite some time. Experts therefore are considering to do away with tramcars from the transport system of Kolkata. But it is to be noted that replacing trams would not only be costly but also environmentally harmful. CTC has a long history of running tramcars and is believed to posses the experience that is required to run such a transit system in the city. The present paper is an attempt to look into the position of tramways as a means of mass transportation within the transport scenario of Kolkata and to assess the issues and concerns of retaining tramcars in the city instead of removing them.

Keywords: Tramcars, transit system, pollution-free mode, retention, revival, passenger load, travel demand.


Urban Transport is a medium by means of which people, goods and services are transported from one part of the city to another. Proper urban transport should be efficient, reliable, safe, economic and comfortable. Any million plus city should plan for a good and efficient public mass transit system (Report of Ministry of Urban Development, 2006). In the field of urban mass transportation in the city of Kolkata the first organized efforts were made by the tramways towards the closing years of the last century (Halder, 2008). Trams are cheap, pollution-free and one of the safest mode of transport. Being run on electricity with an accident rate which is almost negligible it stands out as one of the most efficient modes of mass transport in the present world.


The selected area for study is the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (Lat. 22°30? N to 22°37? N, Long. 88°18? E to 88°23? E). It comprises of 141 wards in 15 Boroughs, with an area of 187.33 sq. km and a total road space of only 6% of the total build-up area. It has a population load of 4.58 million (Census of India, 2011) and a passenger load of 18.70 million on an average week day (CMDA report, 2011).


The research is based on an analytical study of the secondary data collected from Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) head office and depots under it and from Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA). Primary data was derived through questionnaire survey of employees of CTC at the various depots and termini and of daily commuters, passengers and pedestrians. The data was then analysed and processed to determine the situation of tram services in the city.


For preparation of the research study books, journals and reports have been consulted. D.K. Halder (1977) in his book "Urban Transport Problem" deals with tramways system in Kolkata in a chapter entitled The Calcutta Tramways, where he puts forward the position of trams within the transport scenario of Kolkata and highlights the pros and cons for retention of tram services in the city. D.K. Halder (2008) in his another book "Studies in Urban Transport" focuses on the prospects and retrospects of Calcutta Tramways in a chapter. He emphasizes the fact that withdrawal of trams from streets of Kolkata is not a very wise decision and provides prospects for revival, retention and expansion of tram services in the city. …

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