With around 70 million people
travelling in buses, state-run public bus providers play an essential role in
connecting people in cities across India. Transit agencies who operate the
public bus networks across India carry more than 60% of the road passengers,
competing with alternate mobility solutions that operate on-demand, and can
offer greater comfort and service quality.
Highlighting the need and
importance of public bus systems in India, Dr. O.P. Agarwal, CEO, WRI India,
said, “By 2021, it is estimated that India will need around 650,000 buses to
cater to its transit needs. There is a
need for decision- makers to broaden their perspective of urban transportation
beyond traditional models to identify and implement strategies to meet this
ever-growing demand in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner.”
The challenge will address one
of three categories: Operations Management and Efficiency, New Service Models,
and Commuter Experience. The ‘Better Bus
Challenge’ will offer the top three solutions a financial award of USD 50,000
or Rs 32,00,000 each. The cash reward
will be supplemented with a year-long mentorship to collaborate with transit
agencies to design and implement solutions which cater to the needs of cities. Champions in the transit agencies will manage
the year-long demonstration projects, and help measure their impact with the
support from WRI India Ross Center.
FedEx and WRI India Ross
Center have worked together over the last seven years to assist cities in
improving public transportation by addressing issues such as service quality,
and fleet and fuel selection and training.
Globally, the collaboration has helped nearly five million daily transit
users, trained more than 9,000 transit professionals, and reduced 63,908 tons
of CO2 emissions.
“We believe that the more connected a
community is, the more it thrives. We
are excited to support the launch of the 'Better Bus Challenge’ and believe
that this unique platform will encourage stakeholders to create innovative
solutions for the public bus transit system in India, making it more
affordable, accessible and sustainable for everyone,” said Jack Muhs,
president, FedEx Express Middle East, Indian subcontinent and Africa.
FedEx support for this project
is part of the FedEx Cares initiative, under which FedEx has committed to
invest $200 million in more than 200 communities by 2020 to create
opportunities and deliver positive change around the world.
“In India, public bus
transport is the backbone for two-thirds of commuters, connecting them to jobs,
schools, health care and places of economic opportunity,” said Amit Bhatt,
director, Integrated Transport, WRI India, adding that “By bolstering their
service with innovative technology, transit agencies can make public bus
services more efficient, accessible and comfortable for all.”