Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002
`50 pc of public transport services unsatisfactory'
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Aug. 20
LACK of pucca roads and inadequate accessibility to public transport have been found to affect over half the population in the country.
Punctuality of public buses has not been of a high order in the better performing States, and are very poor in the rest. The severity of the problem is compounded when user feedback on frequency of services is also examined.
These are the findings of a millennium survey on the state of the country's public services conducted by the Bangalore-based Public Affairs Centre (www.pacindia.org) . The survey covered 24 States, apart from Union Territories.
Roads play a vital role in integrating villages with the rest of the country and improving ease of access to facilities and markets. Large investments have gone into setting up roads and bridges and establishment of Government-funded bus transport networks.
Pucca roads were available in 38 per cent of the villages covered and was found to be relatively high in Gujarat, Mizoram and Haryana, but very low in Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
Public bus facility was available throughout the year for 56 per cent of the households. Availability was highest in Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra and low in Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal.
Overall usage of public and private buses was at the same level of 35 per cent across the country. Use of public buses in States such as Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat is very high on account of a largely nationalised bus transport. Among other States, public buses are more used in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and private buses in Assam, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.
Punctuality of public buses was higher in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, and markedly low in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Andhra Pradesh.
Full satisfaction with public bus transport system was reported by around 22 per cent of the users surveyed.
Relatively large proportions of the population in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh were fully satisfied with the frequency of public buses, while utter dissatisfaction was indicated in parts of West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
Full satisfaction with behaviour of conductors of public buses was higher in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, and dissatisfaction marked in Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura.
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