Gujarat is one of the prosperous states of India and experiencing rapid growth in human population and vehicular population in the urban area. The urbanisation has increased from 31.1% to 42.6% i.e. an increase of around 37% in urbanisation over the last three decades. Similarly growth in vehicular registration is growing over the last two decades. Both together are putting pressure on existing transport infrastructure in the urban area. Further, it is deteriorating environment (air and noise) in the urban area. The rapid growth in privatised motorised vehicle also led to an increase in the number of accidents and rising demand for petroleum products.
All the above trends are likely to continue as further urbanization take place in the state. Hence, it is felt to address this issue (urban transport) and develop a comprehensive framework for future action in mitigating the emerging problems of urban transport for different class of the cities in Gujarat (Class I, II, and III).
Like most of the other Indian cities, urban public transportation in Gujarat’s cities, is being considered at the final stage of city planning rather than being the driving force behind it. Of all the municipal areas, public transport services are offered in just 20 urban areas. This includes all the municipal corporations and 6, 2 and 5; A, B and C Class towns respectively. However, the services are nominal, including the corporation cities. As per one study for Ahmedabad in 2002, the passenger load factor for AMTS (Ahmedabad Municipal Transport system) declined from 71% in 1960 to 55% in 2000.
As a result of availability of limited public transportation facilities in the urban areas, the private vehicles ownership has increased, leading to higher air pollution levels. Efforts to find medium and long-term solutions to mobility problems in large urban areas are under way. Planning and implementation of ‘Integrated Public Transport System’ (IPTS) for Ahmedabad is underway. Development of Bus Rapid Transit System, Metro Rail System, Regional Rail System and up-gradation of municipal bus service of Ahmedabad are key components. Similar initiatives have been taken for Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara also. Several projects have been identified are being implemented for improving urban transport facilities in these four major cities of Gujarat.
State government has initiated continuing efforts to introduce urban bus service through private sector participation in second level of cities and towns. Bhavnagar, Jamnagar and Junagadh are live models for the same.