NEW DELHI, May 31, 2016 ─ The Government of India and the World Bank today signed a US$ 9.2 million grant agreement under the World Bank-Global Environment Facility (GEF) Program for the Efficient and Sustainable City Bus Service Project to improve the efficiency and attractiveness of bus services in select Indian cities.
The project will demonstrate low cost high impact initiatives in efficient bus operations by focusing on modernizing city bus services through modern depots for improving the maintenance of buses; introducing modern Intelligent Transport Systems and Management Information Systems for better planning and management of operations; and by providing technical support to vehicles and drivers for better fuel efficiency, among others.
Demonstration cities where the various initiatives for improving city bus services will be undertaken are Mira Bhayandar in Maharashtra, Chandigarh, Jaipur, and Bhopal.
“This project will complement the Government of India’s Bus Funding Scheme launched to promote public transport by supporting cities to modernize their bus services,” said Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
The grant agreement for the Efficient and Sustainable City Bus Service Project was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India; state governments of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Union Territory of Chandigarh on behalf of the cities of Bhopal, Jaipur, Mira Bhayandar and Chandigarh respectively; and Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director in India, on behalf of the World Bank.
“Buses can meet the public transport needs of rapidly growing Indian cities in a cost effective and efficient manner as they occupy less road space and cause less pollution per passenger-km than personal vehicles. The initiatives for modernizing city bus transport services under this project will help select cities reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) while offering practical transport solutions,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director in India.
The project is designed to specifically focus on identifying regulatory, institutional and fiscal constraints to operation of sustainable city bus services; addressing the weak capacity in the urban bus sector and facilitating the development of a vibrant urban bus sector community through the development of a comprehensive capacity building program including training programs, knowledge and exchange events for sharing of best practices and experiences among public and private stakeholders; and targeting city-level modernization interventions in demonstration cities to showcase initiatives around depot modernization, intelligent transport systems and management information systems, business planning and fuel efficiency among others.
“Rapid urbanization and motorization in Indian cities is resulting in severe congestion, deteriorating road safety and air quality and growing GHG emissions. There is an urgent need to give priority to city public transport and this project attempts to do so by showcasing some good practices in sustainable city bus services,” said Nupur Gupta, Senior Transport Specialist and World Bank’s Task Team Leader for this project.
The World Bank Group-Global Environment Facility (GEF) directly support actions to combat major environmental issues such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, polluted international waters, land degradation and desertification, and persistent organic pollutants, as well as stimulate green growth. The program supports an active portfolio of over 200 investments globally.