Kolkata is India's most commuter-friendly metro; Delhi offers best roads

Ultra-low fares and robust infrastructure for public transport have put Kolkata at the top of a list of Indian metros in terms of how easy commuters find it to go from point A to point B. Put together by ride-hailing giant Ola, the list ranks New Delhi and Chennai number two and three, respectively, while Bengaluru and Mumbai fare the worst among the large metros.

According to Ola’s first-ever ‘Ease of Mobility Index’, half  the people in Mumbai prefer public transport over personal vehicles, while Delhi offers the best surface quality to ride on. Hyderabad, on the other hand, is the front runner in shared mobility. It also ranked Patna as the best ‘Booming City’ and Bhubaneswar as the best ‘Promising City’.

The report, released by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday, is one of the initiatives taken by Ola’s in-house think tank set up to reimagine mobility in India. Ola said it took into account 50 parameters to arrive at the final scores for the cities.

One of the most notable findings of the report, which surveyed over 35,000 people, is that 80 per cent of the respondents said they’d shift to public transport if it became more affordable and comfortable, and coverage was improved.

“Whether available or not, what we’re learning is that people want public transit. But we’re also learning that convenience and shared mobility are at the top of their minds. You see that from the numbers in the report and you see that in our customers,” said Anand Shah, senior vice-president of strategic initiatives at Ola. 

“Our sense is that a lot more effort needs to be put into figuring out the right modes of mobility and for it to become a more interconnected experience.”

Ola said the reasoning behind the report was to give state authorities a picture of the state of mobility in their cities as a base to work upon. While there are a lot of different stakeholders such as entrepreneurs, venture capital firms, local authorities and state governments that are delving deep into solving India’s mobility issues, the perception of citizens was always at a loss. The company also wants to play a bigger role in integrating the several different forms of mobility, one of the big asks from citizens.

Moreover, the SoftBank-backed firm said it was willing to collaborate with states to pass on information and data for better planning. For instance, Ola can pinpoint the location of potholes on the road based on gyroscopic data collected from cars attached to its service. “To further help the authorities in prioritising which pothole to fix, Ola can provide average vehicle speed at these points at various time periods,” the company said.

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