Walking by the road or driving your own vehicle you must have noticed various other vehicles running on the road, carrying numerous passengers at a time.These vehicles, whether big or small, constitutes the public transport of a city or locality.
As the name suggest itself, Public Transport are those modern day means of transport which are easily accessible to the general public like, buses, trams, mono/metro rails, ferries, trains etc. as against the private means like two-wheeler s, cars etc.
These public transport facilities are shared by one and all in the public, usually without any discrimination. It is often referred to as ‘mass transit’, as they carry numerous people from one point to the other, at a time.
Although public transport existed in early times also, but was not organized and widespread as it is nowadays. The public transport is usually owned and managed by an authority whether public or private.
In some countries/cities of the world public transport is privatized; being owned and managed by a private entity and thereby charges substantial amount to provide the service, and at some places it is government-owned, where sometimes it is fully subsidized or paid for by the government itself and sometimes charged minimally, such as in countries like India public transport is owned and managed by the government and is subsidized also.
Mode of Public Transport
Means of public transport vary across regions. Some of the main causes of these variations can be; the landscape/topography (means the surface features of an area), geographical conditions, and most importantly the level of development in the concerned region; more the level of development in the region, more sophisticated and high-speed would be the means of transport there.
Broadly, modes of public transport can be categorized into following three types:
Road transport— This is the most commonly visible and widespread means of transport within a city. Road transport constitutes buses, trams, tempos, auto-rickshaws, etc.
Railways – Generally speaking, railways carry highest number of passengers from source to their destination. Also, they are most suitable means for long distance land travel. Railways provide connectivity between/among the cities.
India has the largest network of railways in the world. We have a wide range of trains, based on their speed like Rajdhani /Shatabdi expresses, services—luxury trains like ‘Palace on Wheels’ Maharaja express, trains to serve a specific purpose—Tiger Express, long distance trains—Duronto trains, vintage trains—Himalayan Fairy Queen train, etc.
Airways— Once considered a form of luxury travelling for just handful of the rich ones; this means of transport is fast capturing the share of travelers especially in the middle income group countries through budget airlines. In the travelling routes where land connectivity doesn’t exist or if it is there, it’s too distant and inconvenient to travel by road, air travel is a big savior.
Waterways— Besides the above three, waterways transport is also fast emerging as a prominent and quite promising mode of public transport for long, very long, as well as medium distance travelling.
This means of transport is ideal for carrying large amount of cargo along with large number of passengers. Waterways are basically developed along the course of river, lakes or other large water bodies connecting faraway destinations.
Public Transport: Advantages & Disadvantages
- Using public transport for commuting to the workplace very often is a huge saving for money, sometimes even passes are provided to the daily commuters which further add to their savings.
- More and more promotion of travelling through means of public transport will lead to decreasing number of private vehicles on the road, consequently decreasing the rush and, ensuring smooth flow of traffic on the road.
- Modern day means of public transport like, bullet trains, metro trains, high- speed luxury trams provides good amount of comfort to its passengers.
- Travelling by the means of public transport develops a sense of belongingness within the travelling fraternity. The long distance travels through these means, provides us with a sense of security too.
- While traveling through the means of public transport one’s privacy can said to be compromised as one has to travel along with numerous co-passengers.
- In some of the developing countries of the world, means of public transport are not maintained with proper hygiene which discourages a large proportion of the commuters from using them.
- The lack of door step connectivity also causes less usage of public transport facilities by the general public. Because there happens so many exigencies in our daily life which really demands door step connectivity which can hardly be met by the means of public transport.
- The lack of comfort caused to the passenger in public transport is a big trouble, which they have to face almost daily, sometimes even the most neediest among them could not manage to get a seat.
- If someone is in a real hurry, they may get late in reaching their destination, as a public transport vehicle has to stop again and again at each and every stoppage. And for this reason, it is time-consuming also.
Public Transport & the Economy
The modes of transport serve as veins to the development of the economy. The smoother the veins are, the faster the growth rate of the economy would be. Good connectivity is one of the key factors for an economy to grow faster, and this responsibility by and large, lies with the public transport.
This can be understood as, when the working population in a city comes out of their places to go for work during morning hours, most of them use public transport vehicles to reach their respective destinations.
If their travel is smooth, non-hectic, comfortable, by the time they reach their destination workplaces, they will be able to get started with full energy and determination. While on the other hand, if there is lots traffic jam, and burdensome travelling, by the time they reach their workplace, the enthusiasm, energy level, motivation is already drained.
Also there doesn’t exist proper network of means of public transport in villages, especially in the developing countries like ours, thereby slowing of economic activity there, automatically.
“PUBLIC TRANSPORT, ENVIRONMENT & SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT “
With the application of some innovative ways in everyday public transport like use of non-polluting, non-fossil fuels like-CNG, carpooling, etc. we can easily handle the ongoing dilemma between development and environment sustainability, by way of decreasing pollution, and improving ambient air quality.
Besides, public transport is a social good, which implies that it belongs to everyone in the society and that, to the some extent the responsibility of their proper maintenance and upkeep lies with the general public too.
As we know that, more than vehicles of private transport, public transport vehicles run on the road. This implies that, they also have greater share in the amount of pollution being spread by these vehicles.
Better public transport facilities will discourage use of individual vehicles, whether two or four wheeler s, as they will help saving time, energy, money and resources, which can be put to use in some other productive work and may lead to greater economic and sustainable growth of the nation.