Public transport systems in Goa – possibility of improvements

May 17, 2022 | 05:44 IST

Public transport systems in Goa – possibility of improvements

We cannot underestimate the role played by public transport in the growth of the city, the ease of departure for people, the mastery of the climate, etc. Whether it’s school children, the elderly, workers or housewives, everyone needs to get from one place to another. An efficient public transport system will certainly reduce the need for a personal vehicle, thus reducing the density of traffic as well as the release of polluting gases into the environment.

Goa may be a state, but its size and connectivity needs dictate that for public transport purposes it can be considered a city, and a city only thrives if it has a transport system. robust audience. Goa is mainly a tourist destination, so far. There are signs that soon the ‘most favoured’ label for Goa may change in favor of other destinations. For domestic tourists, public transport is the first need.

Current Problems: If you analyze carefully, everything is wrong in all modes of public transport in Goa. For example, one may need Rs 1000/1500 to come by train say 800-100 km but may need the same amount if not more to go 40 km from the station to the hotel. Public buses are there but only from terminus to terminus and therefore a student may need to change 3 buses from home to college. Taxis are there, but only available at hotels, train or bus stations or airports, not for people who just want to go to nearby places. Auto rickshaws are there but you can’t get the same when and where you need it, you have to go to the stand.

Besides tourists, the local public also depends on public transport to get to work, school, etc., but is there anything available, say at 6:00 or 10:00 p.m. In case of emergency, is there a public taxi stand in Goa? What public facilities are available to get to the train station or airport?

We can consider public transport facilities in other cities before coming to Goa. Metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru have rapid transit systems like metro and local trains, in addition to regular buses, taxis, auto rickshaws, and more. In all cities of India, there is a timetable for public buses which is strictly followed.

Suggestions for improvement: Goa does not yet need a rapid transit system, but certainly needs major reforms in all existing public transport systems. Every mode of public transport in Goa is engulfed with numerous historical backgrounds. There are political and other ties, there are doubts and apprehensions among the operators, as if OLA and UBER apps are prevalent in all major cities in India and elsewhere in the world, but not in Goa and we must therefore find a solution without affecting these aspects. Here are some suggestions that can be implemented, without affecting the main systems in place.

Public Bus Transport: Ironically, in Goa, the public bus system is in the hands of both public and private operators. So be it ! Let their tribe grow! How do we improve this? If there are more buses on the road, more facilities for the public and more jobs generated.

Let us analyze the current system and how the buses operate in Goa. There are few major cities where there are bus terminals and buses run from one terminal to another, for example from Panjim to Margao or Ponda or Mapusa. These are main roads. Then there are intra-city/city routes, say Dona Paula to Panjim bus station, etc. Buses start running not before 6am or 6.30am and not after 8.30/9.30am. This system has been in use for 50 years or more. Shouldn’t that change with the change of weather? Why does a Dona Paula/Caranzalem student going to Mapusa for study have to change buses at Panjim bus station? Can’t a bus from Dona Paula go directly to Mapusa/Margao/Ponda/Thivim Railway Station/Vasco via Dabolim Airport etc? ?

Amusingly, the bus to Taleigao from Panjim bus station passes through Miramar, then goes to St Ines and then to Taleigao, but then returns to Panjim bus station via Caranzalem and Miramar. And why can’t the buses start at 5:30 if not 5:00 and at night until 11:00 p.m.?

Taxi services: When it comes to taxis, let’s not talk about Ola or Uber for obvious reasons. A simple solution can be for all public taxis to be connected through a system like 108 ambulance services. A designated number called XYZ is given to call taxis by the public. When someone needs a taxi, they can call XYZ and give their location and destination. A central server will immediately forward the request to the nearest public taxi by SMS. Taxi drivers may have the option of saying no and the request may be forwarded to the next and so on. In this case, a driver can bring passengers from Margao to Calangute and can be at the airport and so on. It can turn on/off as needed, and the fare can be reasonable for passengers, and the daily takeout amount can be much higher. As trains and planes operate for almost 24 hours, reasonable customers are assured of taxis. It can be a win-win situation for everyone without too much fuss.

For auto rickshaws, very few changes may be needed. They can be asked to charge a single rate for popular destinations and 1.2 or 1.5 times for indoor locations but allowed to wait at any junction, corner, under a tree, etc., without obstructing traffic as is the case in most towns/ cities.

Change is constant and change is necessary. All changes are always opposed for many reasons but above all apprehensions. In all these solutions mentioned above, there may be doubts for all concerned, but unless we start after careful consideration, we will not succeed. We can learn from feedback after implementations and keep improvising to improve it. Of course, the will to change belongs to the authority concerned.

(The author has resided in Goa for 45 years.)

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