Enhancing Metro Rail Usage by Citizens

Tapping into Citizen Power for Efficient Metro Commuting

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Kanpur Metro
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Abstract

The provision of Metro Rail in cities is welcomed by citizens; however, the ease to use the facility has been a challenge for most. The intent of this paper is to create citizen interest in promoting the usage of the Metro in their city with active participation with authorities.

The idea is to evolve practical solutions which can be jointly implemented by authorities with citizen participation.

Background

The intent of Metro is to promote mass transport, thereby reducing traffic on city roads and contain pollution caused. It is observed that there is reluctance amongst citizens to give up cars/two-wheelers and ride the metro for a variety of reasons. A WRI study shows that except Mumbai, amongst all other cities where the Metro is functional, the actual ridership is much lower (i.e. 5- 10%) than the potential for which the Metro is designed (WRI, 2023).

Apart from this, there are challenges faced by citizens in attempting to use the public transport facilities offered in cities in addition to Metro, as the services are not conceptualised based on end-user expectations; further, these transport options often do not complement each other to get a synergy for their usage.

Non-usage of Metro leads to investments turning non-viable, leading to loss and deteriorating facilities over time for lack of maintenance on account of the shortage of funds. It’s the behaviour we intend to change by addressing the underlying causes.

Literature Review

Different studies have been carried out for the feasibility of urban transport systems with respect to traffic conditions in cities; however, the post-implementation usage data, as cited above, reveals very low usage in cities barring Mumbai. For the analysis of end-user requirements, it is important to understand the Macro map of the process one follows to use public transport, as explained in Figure 1 below.

 The end user requirements of secondary transport to reach the metro station is a challenge in the process due to

  1. 1. Non-availability of feeder buses/autos/taxis from the starting point of the user.
  2. 2. Non-availability of parking spaces at metro stations.
  3. 3. Non-availability of secondary transport at the alighting station to reach the destination.

The ticket buying is simplified reasonably with metro cards / mobile apps / QR codes/ monthly passes at stations to save on time. Further, amenities at stations are decent, plus the comfort of commuting in Metro is provided. But secondary transport at the alighting station is still a challenge.

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Figure 1- Macro-map of citizen Activities to use Metro

There are studies done for the feasibility of Metros and Bus transport independent of each other as such, the routes of these are found to be non-converging leading to minimal change over points for modes of public transport in cities. As such, Transit Oriented Development (TOD) initiatives are forced to provide measures to bridge the gap among the modes of transport, as mentioned above. This leads to TOD projects mainly converging to improve the ease of shift for travellers between two modes. The focus of TOD is to bring in land use interventions to ease accessibility to stations and improve walkability, as illustrated in Figure 2.

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Figure 2 – TOD Policy Measures – Illustration

Parking management is a key thrust area in TOD policy by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA), and the idea leverages this focus to promote citizen participation and proposes to integrate the initiative as part of TOD initiatives to encourage citizens to participate. In addition, a little focus on the end-user requirement, as illustrated in Figure 3 below, shall help to make the commute easier and more beneficial to both the provider and consumer. A picture containing text, screenshot, font, design

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Figure 3 – Approach to identify solutions for fulfilment of Citizen expectations on Service

There is a need to analyse citizen requirements, as explained in the graphic above, where an approach to identify suitable solution sets for the viability of bus service is illustrated. These solutions need to be prioritised based on viability to fulfil user as well as provider requirements.

The reason for the distinctly low usage of metro rail in cities, despite efforts to make stations good with amenities, ease of ticket buying etc., is the visibly striking gap in transfer between two modes of transport like in the ease of reaching the station and availability of hop on services etc. The idea is focused on this aspect with the intent of identifying avenues to complement TOD policy with citizen participation.

Approach for measures to enhance the usage of Metro rail

The idea behind the solution is built around the TOD policy of MOHUA for enhancing land use in the vicinity of the transit nodes and improve parking facilities. The idea thus focuses on:

  1. Encouraging citizens to reach the nearest point to take the metro/feeder bus to a metro station.
  2. The target audience is users of cars and two-wheelers by providing them with a facility to park near the metro station or close to a feeder bus stop.
  3. The element of service assurance shall be built into the solution thereby, the usage can scale up with information on parking availability.
  4. Focus on the involvement of citizen/housing societies in the vicinity of the station or on the route of feeder buses to the metro station.
  5. Idea leverages the existing Metro App, Maps, Metro Cards and Payment channels like UPI for easily locating available parking, booking of available lot and payment of parking fees.
  6. For implementation, a partnership of Local authority is proposed for parking lot mapping and tariff fixation with an arrangement to share benefits with participating citizens by Metro along with local authority.
  7. The idea shall surely have a prerequisite solely with participating authorities who need to show constructive interest in implementation, with assurance to participating citizens for any conflict resolution if it arises.

Potential Solution

The solution proposed has two components A – Spatial components, which constitute

  • Initiative by Metro and Local ULB to encourage citizens to offer spaces within their premises closer to metro stations for parking provisions/ bicycle stands.
  • Provide channel to citizens to express their interest and get empanelled post validation of locations/parking potential.
  • Plan a feeder bus route linking parking lots offered for commuting those willing to use parking lots to finally use Metro.
  • Also, include a bicycle option to provide cycles on rent by extending current ongoing initiatives.
  • The point-to-point service offering via e-auto rickshaw with a fixed fare to be paid via MetroCard.

B – Technological components of the idea constitute

  • Make available the offered slots for pre-booking by the existing metro app.
  • Bus route and cycle booking options to be part of the metro app.
  • Provision of payment of fees through various payment options
  • Assurance of vehicle security with insurance on lines of the railway at a low premium.
  • Revenue sharing via app for participating citizen / Metro / ULB
  • Some of the solutions for improving bus service outlined in Figure 3 can also be developed.

 Figure 4 A and B below illustrate the Spatial & Technical components of the idea.

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   Figure 4 – A and B – Spatial and Technical Components of Idea

Testing Plan

 The idea is proposed to be run as a pilot with clear actions defined by participating stakeholders and user citizens, as outlined in Figure 5 below.

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Figure 5 – Provider and User Actions for Idea Testing and Implementation


Conclusion

Increasing awareness amongst citizens regarding the potential of public transport towards contribution for reduction in pollution and the need for citizen contribution to the environment is the central theme of the idea.

The element of Incentive-based service provision is taken as a driver for encouraging citizens to participate in implementing initiatives of such nature. The idea leverages the synergy amongst the currently ongoing initiatives like

  • As a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), the idea ropes in citizens (Users and Residents) to participate with city administration in the initiative by offering their premises at a use-based charge.
  • Promoting cycles / fixed fare e-rickshaw as part of TOD initiatives
  • Promoting TOD policy measures of land use interventions in the catchment area around metro transit routes.
  • Integrates ongoing initiatives like feeder bus/bicycle rentals / insurance-based assurance (like railways) to promote active citizen participation in the usage of public transport like Metro.
  • Giving citizens to contribute to the environmental protection measures.




    By Dr Praful Gharpure Architect – Urban Planner Sr. Consultant
    Infrastructure Planning & Development Tata Consultancy Services

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