Integrating intermediate public transport within transport regulation in a megacity: a Kolkata case study

This report focuses on the regulatory and operational aspects of Intermediate Public Transportation (IPT) in Kolkata, India. The Kolkata Metropolitan Region was chosen because it arguably has the most varied and complex set of transport systems, public and private, among the megacity regions in India, offering citizens ferries, trams, buses, trains, a metro, taxis, auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws. This report focuses on the role of auto-rickshaws as IPT in the city as studies have demonstrated that auto-rickshaws in Kolkata serve a larger population of commuters at lower fiscal costs, and levels of environmental destruction and infrastructure usage. These findings are based on a mixed methodology of quantitative and qualitative research, including a pan-city survey and in-depth interviews of stakeholders in the political economy of IPT in Kolkata. The findings are strengthened by a GIS mapping of autorickshaw routes and a deep analysis of the regulatory and legal framework within which IPT systems function in Kolkata. This report argues that auto-rickshaws are viewed as a primary form of IPT because they are affordable, regular, safe, predictable and cover large majority of the city’s inhabited geographic area.