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The current pandemic has forced us to reconsider everything cities are known for – dense neighbourhoods, crowded markets, mobility of people, etc. Mass transit has been especially impacted. The peak hour rush that our transit systems are already struggling with, the deteriorating urban air quality and congestion - all need a fresh perspective.
Cash and paper economy that urban commuters and transit systems are so dependent on is most vulnerable to the threat of infection. Buses in Indian cities are undeniably the most indispensable mode of transport. In the pre-COVID world, Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) together had an average ridership of about 40 lakh daily. 22% of motorized trips in Mumbai were done on buses and Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) had the largest mode share in Bangalore. There are also informal and privately operated buses that cater to a large daily ridership in other cities.
A transition to a cashless economy is ambitious and addressing the requirements of the bus ridership, its legacy systems and dependence of liquidity might be a crucial first step. The discussion is more relevant now than ever and is a starting point to put India’s urban transit systems on the path to a cashless future.
The panel aims to discuss the following topics:
Moderator - Amit Bhatt, Executive Director, Integrated Transport, WRI India