World Bank to conduct Study on Kolkata Integrated Transportation System

Kolkata (KOAA): The World Bank will conduct a survey to figure out how the various transport options in the city – Metro Rail, bus, taxi, auto and ferry – can be integrated.

The $400,000-project, spread over two years, will focus on developing a transport roadmap for Kolkata with emphasis on waterways and “restoring” the city’s central business district, including Esplanade, after the bus terminus is shifted to Santragachhi in Howrah.

The survey would aim to integrate the various modes of transport in Kolkata and adjoining areas that now operate independently. A World Bank official said three global consultants would draw up a blueprint of integrating bus routes, among several other things.

“One of the thrust areas would be strengthening regular transport using the river route along the ghats of the Hooghly,” he said. “This has been completely untapped….” a Secretariat source said the state would not have to shell out any money for the study.

“Since we don’t have a blueprint to link the various modes of transport and cut down on travel time, this study would work as a ready reference material,” transport secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said.

A state official said the World Bank study would look at ways to realign bus routes once the East-West Metro takes shape and people keep switching from the North-South Metro to the new one for their daily movement. It would also focus on converging buses, trams, autos and other forms of transport with the upcoming Garia-Airport and Joka-BBD Bag Metro projects.

“The study would look at restoring Dalhouise and Esplanade to its old status once the central bus terminus is shifted to Santragachhi,” the World Bank official said. “If required we could fall back on the model that was used for restoring Panama.”

“We are now keen on Kolkata…. It holds immense possibilities as a gateway to the East and the North-east,” the official said. “The Centre, too, has adopted a Look East policy.”

The study would work on a single-ticketing system for the various modes of transport, develop integration points for smooth switchovers and clutter-free pathways that would connect the ghats to the nearest points of transport.