With the starting of a majority of economic activities during the fifth phase of nationwide lockdown, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday issued an advisory encouraging the wide usage of non-motorised transport as a means of urban transport.

The MHA suggested a three-pronged strategy to the states, union territories, cities, and metro rail companies in the view of the coronavirus outbreak for providing urban transport services.

The strategies include short term plans within 6 months, medium plans within 1 year and long term for 1-3 years.

The MHA said that non-motorised transport offers perfect opportunity to implement in this COVID 19 crisis due to which it should be widely used by the masses.

“As most of the urban trips are clocked in under five kilometres, NMT offers perfect opportunity to implement in this COVID 19 crisis as it requires low cost, less human resource, easy & quick to implement, scalable and environment-friendly,” it added.

Although the MHA  allowed the recommencement of public transport service with ‘greater confidence of commuters,’ it also said that it is imperative at this stage that transmission of infection through the usage of public transport should be curbed by adopting the right sanitization, containment and social distancing measures.

“Enabling technologies such as Intelligent Transportation System (ITS), indigenous cashless and touchless system like BHIM, PhonePe, Google Pay, PayTM etc.and National Common Mobility Card (NCMC)will reduce human interaction, in operations of public transit systems,” the MHA said.

According to the MHA, 16 to 57 per cent of urban commuters are pedestrian and about 30 to 40 per cent of commuters use bicycles in the country depending on the size of the city.

“Considering this as an opportunity, elevating the priority of these modes in this testing times gives travellers another private vehicle alternative, which is clean, safe, secured particularly if it is integrated with other modes and affordable for all,” the MHA said.

It will also generate employment opportunity for the workforce in NMT industry, it added.

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