Towards a discussion of support to Urban Transport development in India Energy & Infrastructure Unit South Asia Region

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Attachment II-B: Urban Transport in Bangalore

A. The State

1. The State of Karnataka has a population of 53 million, 33% urban, growing at 1.59% per annum (1991-2001). Its economy grew at 7.5% per annum in the 1990s and is expected to continue at that pace.71 Services as percent of Karnataka’s GDP grew from 40.1% in 1990-91 to 47% in 2000-01.72 The state was ranked second out of a sample of 10 Indian states with regard to the investment climate. In late 1990s, it experienced a fiscal crunch, due to a combination of a recession in the economy, large losses in the power sector (leakage, theft, subsidies to agriculture), a generous settlement of civil service wages; and a peak in debt servicing. A reform program was undertaken aiming to gradually reduce energy subsidies, improve budgetary processes, and a restructuring program for the public administration.

2. Karnataka has a pioneering program to improve the delivery of services to the public, based on public dissemination of charters for public agencies, adopting service standards and targets, and grievance procedures, and arranging for citizen surveys published as “report cards” for agencies.

B. The City, Its People and Economy

3. Bangalore is the capital of the State of Karnataka. The city itself has 4.1 million people and 930,000 households (2001 data), on an area of 224 square km.73 The corresponding average residential density is 183 people per sq km. The agglomeration has 5.7 million people on 530 sq km.74 Another million people visit the area on daily basis. The population growth rate was the highest in the 1970s (7.6% per annum), but it is still quite high, 4.9% per annum, the fastest in India. The growth is due to a combination of high fertility and massive in-migration. The latter is linked to Bangalore’s rise as the center of India’s electronics and information technology, but also engineering, defense, higher education, consumer goods, and silk weaving. Migrants are a combination of highly skilled workers drawn from all over India and abroad, but also job-seeking rural poor from inside the state as well as the neighbor states. The forecast population for the year 2011 is 10 million.

4. City spatial structure is polycentric, growing at the fringes more in the inner areas. This is due in part to low floor area ratios enforced by BMC in the city center, therefore also higher prices.75 Vacant land and structures needing re-development are leapfrogged. The resulting “many-to-many” travel pattern tends to increase trip lengths, while reducing volumes on major corridors. When this is coupled by transfer avoidance by passengers, the public transport system tends to evolve in the direction of increasing the number of direct routes, while decreasing frequency. High corridor volumes represent the sum of many lower-volume lines.
5. The city has a large and growing middle class, the tops of which live in planned residential layouts. Most households live in rental housing (74% in the mid-1990s). There is also considerable poverty, including both those whom economic growth has left behind and fresh migrants from the countryside. Bangalore’s income groups are generally mixed throughout the area, but there is some clustering of low-income groups at west, south-west and north-east peri-urban areas. During the peak of the growth boom (late 1980’s, early 1990’s), rising land prices pushed a lot of low-income people to farther-out locations.76 According to a 1999 survey, 2.2 million people live in about 750 slums, sharply up from 1991.77
6. The following household income data are for 1998, when the median annual income was Rs 62,500 (Rs 5,208/month):

Annual Income (Rs) No.of hh (000) %

Less than 37,500 308 28.1

Rs 37,500-50,000 121 11.0

Rs 50,000-62,500 122 11.1

Rs 62,500-75,000 104 9.5

Rs 75,000-87,500 105 9.6

Rs 87,500-100,000 88 8.0

Rs 100,000-112,500 64 5.8

Rs 112,500-125,000 63 5.7

Above 125,000 122 11.1

Total number of households 1,097,00078

C. Transport Demand: Modal Split and Motorization

7. Urban transport in Bangalore is essentially road based, since the national rail lines were neither designed nor operated with regard to urban and regional traffic (infrequent stations, no pass-through lines, low service frequency). Traffic is dominated by motorized 2-wheelers and 3-wheel rickshaws. Conventional public transport services are provided by Bangalore Metropolitan Corporation (BMTC). Its 2,200 buses operate in mixed traffic, without any privileges like exclusive lanes or priority of passage at signalized intersections. In addition, many companies arrange for transport of their employees, using own minibus fleets or contracting out. BMTC network is diffuse, trying to connect the maximum number of origins and destinations, to avoid transfers (implies low frequency of service on individual lines). The intercity bus terminal was recently re-located to the city fringe, but most freight terminals are still in the central city.

8. The most recent available estimate of modal split, in Bangalore, for all trips, for early 2000’s, is as follows:79
walk and bike 17%

BMTC buses 38%

other buses 3%

cars & 2-wheelers 38%

3-wheelers 4%
9. About 1.6 million motor vehicles ply the roads and streets of Bangalore, and about 2 million in the metropolitan area. The breakdown by main vehicle categories is as follows:

Private use motor vehicles

2-wheelers 1,220,000

cars, station wagons and jeeps 279,000

sub-total 1,499,000

For hire motor vehicles

MTC buses 2,200

private buses 675

other buses and vans 16,000

auto-rickshaws 74,000

taxis, cabs 27,000

freight vehicles 42,000

other 17,125

sub-total 179,000

Total 1,678,00080

10. The motorization rates are 68 (=279000/4100) passenger cars per 1,000 population and, when 2-wheelers are added to cars, 298 (=1220000/4100) passenger vehicles per 1,000 population. The forecast for year 2011 is 4.2 million vehicles, of which 2.9 million 2-wheelers and 610,000 cars.
11. Traffic composition in 1999 was 50% 2-wheelers, 20% auto-rickshaws and 20% cars. This is very different from the mid-1960s, when bicycles accounted for 70% of traffic.81

D. Roads, Traffic and Parking Control

12. The primary network, 500-600 km out of the total road length of 3,000 km, includes 10 state and/or national roads, most of them radial. An Outer Ring Road (62 km, completed in 2002) plays little role in urban transport, carrying mainly the long-distance through traffic. An Intermediate Ring has been constructed in fragments (e.g. south-east between Koramangala and Airport Road). Generally, the road network is underdeveloped in terms of size, structure, continuity and connectivity. The city roads were laid out in the 1940s, when Bangalore had a population of less than half a million. The land development process preceded motorization, and in fact inhibited it later on. The primary roads (Outer Ring Road and Bangalore-Mysore Toll Road excepted) are merely 25 m wide, or less. Traffic control is by about 110 fixed-time signals and/or manual. Traffic Police estimate that 35% of the road network is in poor condition. Traffic safety situation in Bangalore is dismal. In 2002, there were 8,320 accidents, and about 800 deaths, a fatality rate of about 5.3 per 10,000 vehicles. Pedestrians account for 40% of fatalities.82

13. A traffic study carried out in 1999 proposed a large and varied road improvements program, including 45 multi-grade intersections (mainly flyovers), 25 pedestrian underpasses, and various corridor improvements, including widening, at-grade intersection improvements, one-way schemes, and traffic signals. In the next step of the planning process, the number of multi-grade intersections was reduced to 19, with 9 to be done in the first phase. Some of these were undertaken in the intervening years.83
14. Street stretches designated for on-street parking by the Bangalore Municipal Corporation are rented out to private persons who collect fees and enforce compliance with time limits and other regulations. Fees are set by BMC and the revenue goes to BMC. In 2003, fees for cars were Rs for first 2 hours, Rs 10 for up to 6 hours, and Rs 15 beyond 6 hours. Equivalent fees for 2-wheelers were Rs 1.5, 4.0 and 8.0, respectively. A rudimentary program of meter-based charges has started on Brigade Road. BMC has constructed 2-3 multi-storey parking structure “where it had land available” so some unusual locations (e.g. t an intersection. There are also some private at-grade car parks.

E. Institutions

15. Bangalore has a more fragmented institutional network for urban transport than is found in most places. The following institutions are, or could be, the most important for urban transport matters (state ministries excepted):

  • Bangalore Municipal Corporation (BMC), specifically its Department of Public Works is responsible for the maintenance and rehabilitation (including widening) of local roads (secondary and tertiary network); in addition, the national/state roads on the territory of the City are handed over to BMC for maintenance, traffic and parking management, and law enforcement.

  • Bangalore City Traffic Police:

  • Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), set up in 1976, to do both planning and development functions focused on real estate. Its jurisdiction is 1,279 sq km, including the Bangalore City, the surrounding urbanized area plus rural area, . It is responsible for: (i) preparation of comprehensive land use plans, including zoning and major infrastructure plans (updated every 10 years by Karnataka’s Town and Country Planning Act); (ii) layout planning; (iii) approval of development plans and building proposals (including land use changes) for private residential and commercial clients; and (iv) issuing trade licenses. It is also authorized to develop land, i.e. it buys and develops land for residential layouts and infrastructure schemes. BDA does not do sectoral project and policy planning, nor does it have an integrating role for these (no other agency does). It therefore has no capacity for traffic& transport planning, much less public transport regulation. Still, the BDA’s brief has a reference to being responsible for “specific scheme plans.” In this last capacity, apparently, BDA has had a hand in several large road construction projects (flyovers, elevated sections). It is in effect a land development agency. In recent years, it has become self-financing; its revenues include the vacant land tax (but not the property tax) and tax on land sales ($88 million in 2001-2002).
  • Bangalore Region Development Authority has jurisdiction over the next ring beyond that under BDA’s jurisdiction. Its initial raison d’etre was to be an over-arching agency for coordinating planning and development, but it never took off. Its current functions are not clear, and its staff of a few people is too small to count.

  • Karnataka Road Development Corporation Ltd., founded in 1999, registered under the Companies Act, fully owned by the Government of Karnataka. Its original mission is to mobilize private sector funds for the construction and operation of roads and bridges where tolls can be charged. As of May 2001, it has been given the task of developing and implementing (road) traffic infrastructure schemes in Bangalore.

  • Bangalore Mass Rapid Transit Ltd (BMRTL) was set up in 1994 to play a role for rapid transit projects equivalent to KRDCL plays for roads.

  • Karnataka Urban Infrastructure and Development Finance Corporation (KUIDFC), registered under the Companies Act, fully owned by the Government of Karnataka. The role: interaction with the private sector; nodal agency for Megacities Fund, also for implementing WB and ADB loans.

  • Agenda for Bangalore, a high-level, high-visibility body set up by the Prime Minister to ….

  • Other ad hoc bodies like the Transport Advisory Forum and Task Force on Traffic and Transport (for operational matters)

F. Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC)

16. BMTC is an independent company, registered under the Companies act, fully owned by the State of Karnataka, and governed by a Board of Directors, all appointed by the State. It consists of a central corporate body, 19 depots and 1 workshop. It operates conventional, street-based, scheduled bus services on 1,212 routes, with a fleet of 2,200 buses and a staff of 13,830. Average daily passengers carried amount to 2.6 million. The tables below provide the basic operational and financial statistics, performance indicators, and the fare structure. The company recovers its costs and makes a profit, with only a small-scale contractual compensation.

17. The story of BMTC is that of a resurrection. It was formed in 1997, when the Bangalore depots of the troubled Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) were separated from the mother company. Like other state transport undertakings in India, KSRTC had been buffeted from all sides:

  • The state had loaded gradually more and more social obligations on the company without corresponding compensation (e.g. passengers who had a right to some type of discount fare, or a lightly traveled route);

  • Taxation policy of the state were harsher on buses than on private vehicles;

  • Passenger demand was falling, especially in the wake of the 1988 Motor Vehicle Act, which opened the sector to a variety of informal transport arrangements;

  • Requests for fare increases in line with inflation were approved sporadically and unsystematically; revenues were always chasing costs;

  • Staff discipline had broken down, with revenue pilferage estimated at 10% of total fare revenue.

  • The management yielded to union pressures for increased wages in spite of fallen productivity.

18. In addition to creating BMTC, the state also gave it a right to adjust fares based on an agreed formula and input cost tracking. A full scale internal restructuring program was conceived and implemented. It focused on staff and management conduct, work procedures, uses of IT in various functions like ticketing, stores, accounting, scheduling and schedule monitoring. The last but not the least is that BMTC opened the door to the private sector through outsourcing, even in its main business line – transport services. This consists of a “kilometer scheme” whereby private operators compete on gross cost basis to serve specific routes. In 2001-2002, close to 300 private buses were in operation, equivalent to about13% of the BMTC’s fleet. The sum of these efforts is evident in its financial performance: the loss of Rs 78.2 million (about US$ 2 million) in 1997-98 turned to a small surplus of Rs 39.6 million in 1998-99, rising to Rs 267 million (US$ 5.6 million) in 2001-2002. It also shows in all technical performance indicators, which place BMTC among the top 2-3 urban transport companies in India:

  • Cancellation rate decreased from14.8% in 1996-97 to 2.6% in 2001-02;

  • Distance covered increased from 193.9 km per bus per day in 1996-97 to 227.2 km in 2001-02;

  • The rate of breakdowns decreased from 0.55 per 10,000 km in 1996-97 to 0.19 in 2001-02;

  • Accidents per 100,000 decreased from0.26 per 100,000 km in 1996-97 to 0.22 in 2001-02.

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation LTD

Selected operational and financial statistics






Operable fleet (vehicles)



Outsourced fleet



Own fleet in service (vehicles)



Private fleet in service (vehicles)



Average fleet age (in 100,000km)



Gross bus-km (million)



Passengers (million)



Passengers per day (million)



Costs (Rs million)













payments to private contr.






financial charges






sub-total costs



Revenues (Rs million)

fare sales



Other income



profit on sale of assets






sub-total revenues



Result (Rs million) before tax



Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation LTD

Selected performance indicators



Fleet utilization (%)



Average daily km per bus



Staff per bus in service



Average monthly wage (Rs)



Wage bill (% of total costs)



Breakdowns per 10,000 km



Accidents per 100,000 km



Cost recovery from fares

% of direct op. costs



% of total costs





Single ticket





















Monthly pass (Rs)

City Service (Black Board) : Rs.200/- per month

City Sub-urban Service (Red Board) : Rs.385/- per month

City Sub-urban / Pushpak / Janpriya : Rs.425/- per month

G. Land Use and Transport Planning

19. The statutory Comprehensive (Land Use) Development Plan was made and approved in 1984, then revised 10 years later and approved in 1995. This plan is merely a zoning document with rough location of the road network. It is currently being updated by the BDA and its consultants, for the first time using satellites to create digital area maps. It has no bearing on transport matters.

20. What emerges from the review of literature is a sequence of studies, but relatively little action. The first comprehensive traffic and transport planning study was carried out in 1963-64 by the Central Road Research Institute (New Delhi). In spite of the term “comprehensive” the study apparently focused on the road system, proposing the construction of 138 km of ring roads, 77.5 km arterial roads and various grade separators, pedestrian subways and truck terminals. An effort to refresh the data and update the proposals was made by the State Department of Town Planning in 1977. One of its recommendations was to look into a mass rapid transit project, i.e. a metro for Bangalore The recommendations of this work were taken up by the high-level Lynne Committee in 1981. The Lynne Committee agreed that a metro study was warranted, and a team from Southern Railway (Chennai) was commissioned to do this. The Southern Railway team recommended a 2-corridor metro (24 km, estimated at Rs. 3,300 million in1983 terms, about US$320 million at that time), but also investments in 3 commuter rail lines, and a 58-km ring railway (echoes of the Chennai case). The whole package was estimated to cost Rs.6,500 million in1983 terms (US$628.6 million) and scheduled over a 25-year period. No action followed this proposal. In 1988, in the course of preparing a project to be proposed for World Bank funding, RITES was commissioned to do another transport study, with a broad coverage of roads, traffic and mass transit. The study was completed, proposing various road and traffic improvements, and also improvements on commuter rail lines, but again without much follow-up (no Bank project was agreed). In 1993, the State of Karnataka established another committee to look into mass rapid transit. This committee recommended essentially the same metro project put forward by Southern Railway in 1983 and the same circular railway. Again, no follow up action.

21. In 1994, the state created Bangalore Mass Rapid Transit Ltd., with terms of reference to seek a public/private partnership for a mass rapid transit project, on a 25/75 funding formula. The government immediately introduced a special city cess, with proceeds expected at Rs 550 million (US$ 11.5 million) per annum, dedicated to the anticipated mass rapid transit project.84 BMRTL commissioned a feasibility study, which pointed in the direction of an elevated, LRT-based, 96-km long network on 6 routes. The alignment was on major radial roads. The design capacity was about 25,000 passengers per hour per direction. When the full system was built over a 7.5 year period, the forecast was that it would attract 40% of road based traffic in its corridors, half of this coming from street buses. For once, action followed. A private consortium led by United Breweries Group undertook further development of the project on a BOT basis. After more detailed studies of costs and demand were made by the consortium, they asked for a 94/6 funding formula, reflecting an increase in realism gained in the second stage of studies.85 The matter stopped there.

22. In 1999, BMTC commissioned a feasibility study for a bus-based mass rapid transit system. The study, completed in 1999, identified a network of 20 bus routes, composed of a Siamese-twin central rings intersected by 8 radial routes. A pilot 12-km line from Jayanagar in the south to Shivajinagar in the north, was estimated to cost Rs 394.9 million (US$ 8.6 million). This includes the corridor and depot infrastructure and 35 special-purpose buses. This proposal has not been rejected, nor has it been accepted.
23. In 2003, the Government of Karnataka commissioned the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, which had developed successfully the Delhi Metro (one section in operation, others under construction), to carry out a detailed preparation study for a metro in Bangalore, to be done emulating the technical and financial aspects of the approach used in Delhi. This entails a 25/25 contribution from the State and the City of Bangalore, the rest to be borrowed from domestic and international sources (specifically Japan bank for International Cooperation). The study was a combination of feasibility with an environmental impact analysis. The study came out with a 2-line metro, 18 km and 15 km in length, cross shaped. The middle of the cross is at the Central Railway Station in Bangalore. Station spacing would be 1 km on average (32 stations of which 7 underground). The alignment will be 20% underground (in the central zone), the rest being elevated. Total costs were forecast at Rs. 39.7 billion (US$0.83 billion) in 2003 terms. With escalation and interest during a 5-year construction period, the total outlay was estimated at Rs. 49.9 billion (US$ 1.04 billion). In the opening year (assumed to be 2008), the system would carry 820,000 passengers per day, and 1.02 million per day by 2011, at fares ranging from Rs. 4 for up to 2 km to Rs 9 for an 18 km trip (compare to BMTC fares of Rs. 2 for a 2-km trip and Rs. 6 for a 20-km trip; the metro fare is about 50% higher). The economic rate-of-return was forecast at 22.3% against a “business as usual” reference option. The financial forecast assumes a government subsidy for interest payments and some depreciation, i.e. fare revenue will cover somewhat more than direct operating costs.86 The Government is said to have accepted this option and is involved in discussion with the national government. If an agreement is struck, BMRTL will cease to exist, to be replaced by a Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd, as was done in Delhi,

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