Streamlining Public Transportation With Managed Services & Full Stack Of Technology

Ashok Vashist, Founder & CEO, Aaveg An alumnus of IMI, New Delhi, Ashok has more than 25 years of experience during which he had worked with renowned brands like Hertz & Europcar. He has played a pivotal role in disrupting the mobility & ground transportation industry by introducing radio taxies & driver-cum-owner business model.

Unlike some of its global counterparts, public transportation in India doesn’t warrant similar preferences by the daily commuters. The experience of accessing public transportation, to say the least, isn’t completely pleasant, and understandably so. A majority of the vehicles are old, poorly maintained and unkempt. The State Road Transport Undertakings (SRTUs)lack willingness or funds to repair, replenish or replace the same. It is imperative on the part of government to continue to push for commuters to access public transportation, especially in the face of growing traffic congestion, pollution levels and carbon emissions. However, despite the push from the government, there has been a consistent decline in operational efficiencies of the State Road Transport Undertakings, as stated in a government’s report.

Furthermore, the public transport in India is lagging and unable to accommodate the population and urbanisation explosion. As per the International Road Federation World Road Statistics 2016, Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry, 2015-16 report there are only 1.4 buses per 1000 persons. This has clearly resulted in bottlenecks, when it comes to managing the public transportation and making it ubiquitously available and accessible to daily commuters. The sector thus stares at potential of disruptive technologies, presenting a plethora of opportunities.

The Challenge: Lack of a Proper Infrastructure
Majority of India nearly 70 percent of it still resides in the rural areas. There the challenges are more hard-pressed, given the lack of proper roads limiting the reach of freight and limited infrastructure support for other public transportation services. However, even metropolitan counterparts don’t flaunt proper infrastructure conducive for public transportation and optimum mobility. Helmed as the engines of economic growth, metropolitan cities are continuously being burdened with an increase in urbanization, whilst the infrastructure is not coming of age. This stress on the metropolises due to increased urbanization is only set to grow, as reflected in a survey by McKinsey and Co.stating that,‘60 percent of the world’s entire population would be living in the cities’.

In India per se, the scenarios paint an even graver reality. It is expected that
by 2030, 590 million people in India will inhabit the cities, which more than double of the 290 million, back in the year 2001. Additionally, 68 cities in India will have population of over one million each,13 cities will each have to accommodate population of four million and more than 10 million people each would inhabit six megacities in India. The metropolitan cities have currently become synonymous with increased traffic congestion and toxic air. This status quo needs to be disrupted for India to continue the growth engine and make its presence felt on the global map. Several innovative technological solutions promise a radical overhaul of such bottlenecks.

As per the International Road Federation World Road Statistics 2016, Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry, 2015-16 report, there are only 1.4 buses per 1000 persons

ERP & Other Technological Solutions Paving the Way
In this age of tech disruptions, a number of startups have emerged to tackle the growing menace of urban mobility. In the metro cities, the cab hailing and ride sharing apps have gained mainstream prominence. While these apps are successfully addressing the commuting woes of individuals, enterprises have found solace in the ERP solution and service providers. The enterprise resource planning services bring about advanced technology in the enterprise mobility space, thus boosting efficiencies.

Furthermore, enterprises can optimize costs & reduce extra spending, via properly utilizing the available resources through advanced data analytics. Consequently, other important facets like financial audits, statutory compliance, and adherence to regulatory protocols, amongst others are also managed. The solutions, thus act as a single unit for storing data, enable exchange of information between various departments, and provide reliable reporting. Other tasks such as safety of women employees, while commuting & real-time re-routing are also taken care of by the ERP solution providers.

MSP Model for Complete Public Transportation Overhauls
However, while the ERP services are paving the way and have clearly shown the potential for disruptive technologies in the field of public mobility, they still don’t solve the entire problem. ERPs often tend to be organization specific, working in a very niche environment, instead of taking care of the entire ecosystem. The same warrants the entry of Managed Service Providers (MSPs) in the overall management of public transportation systems.

With MSPs entering the domain, they will be able to not only optimize the transportation for particular enterprises, but also deliver value across the ecosystem. When provided with different data points from multiple enterprises, business districts, hub-spots, techenabled MSPs can chalkout the most cost-effective transportation plans, ensuring optimum mobility. Besides, the techenabled solutions are able to optimize the operations, figure out the best routes, thus minimizing the number of vehicles on the road and maximising mobility.

The MSP model is already a hit amongst the corporate clan, helping them register up to 20 percent monthly savings on their overall expense on employee mobility. The same model can be made available for public transportation with the MSPs accessing multiple data points and optimizing the solutions. At the same time, training the fleet staff, ensuring proper working conditions of the vehicles, deploying SOS and other statutory protocols ensuring the safety of women travellers can all be taken care of by the MSPs.

In essence, collaborations are going to spell the future for India. In the present times, there exist a number of niche players with their own set of tech disruptions and optimizations. However, the need of the hour is to bring these innovations together under one roof and leverage the same in solving the real-world challenges faced by the general public. Owing to their thought leadership and decades of experience, MSPs stand poised to be such change-enablers in the public commuting space.