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Towards multimodal, sustainable mobility for all

The Bus and Car Operators Confederation of India (BOCI), the apex organisation of the state-level federations of private bus and car passenger transport operators, will host the fourth edition of Prawaas, India’s flagship multimodal transport show, in Bengaluru from August 29-31. Themed ‘Safe, smart, and sustainable passenger mobility’, the Prawaas 4.0 event will bring together stakeholders in the multimodal transport sector, including vehicle manufacturers and fleet owners, from across the country. Prasanna Patwardhan, President, BOCI, spoke with businessline on the salient features of the upcoming event. Edited excerpts from the interview:

Where does the Indian transport sector stand today?

The sector has emerged as a pivotal player with its phenomenal growth and visionary roadmap. The industry is thriving with a constant push for green initiatives, digital innovation, and efficient and eco-friendly infrastructure, aiming for a holistic growth of the transportation ecosystem. We are focusing on sustainable, efficient, and inclusive transportation solutions that are intertwined in their functionality and fundamental to the environmental and socio-economic concerns of the industry. In terms of sustainability, it is important to maintain both environmental and financial sustainability. Use of eco-conscious transport solutions, including public transit, alternative fuels, and electric vehicles (will help in) minimising the negative impact on the environment, and combating climate change.

On inclusivity, our goal is to ensure that people from all socio-economic strata, age-group, and ability, can access safe, sustainable, and affordable transportation solutions. With this aim, we are dedicated to building a robust infrastructure ranging from the public metro to last-mile connectivity. Thus, at BOCI we are committed to shaping the future of transportation, and driving transformative change towards greener, safer, and more resilient transport solutions for all.

Which are the major issues facing the industry?

India’s public transport infrastructure is grappling with substantial issues, which are multifold. The concept of public transport is quite narrow-focused in India, which also has inadequate facilities. The taxation module for state transport undertakings (STU) treats public vehicles as commercial entities, levying tax rates that are higher than those imposed on private vehicle users. The lack of developed infrastructure is another cause for frustration in the public when it comes to their commuting needs. Inadequate space for public transport on the roads, lack of proper bus and auto stands, safety issues, and lack of adequate charging stations for electric vehicles are some of the major concerns that need to be addressed on priority.

Will these be discussed at the event?

At Prawaas 4.0, we will discuss these issues along with other industrial concerns through multiple knowledge-sharing sessions, and share our recommendations with the Government. We are also focusing on the adaptability of school and tourism buses with modern infrastructure, aligned with the government’s vision. This year, at Prawaas 4.0, we are showcasing the industry from a multimodal perspective, bringing industry experts in all categories of public vehicles. It is crucial to understand that sustainability cannot be achieved just by going green or running electric vehicles — a thoroughly integrated solution of pedestal infrastructure and mass transit, onboarding more and more people to public transport, will lead to efficient and sustainable mobility.


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