These Guidelines are intended for use in medium-sized Indian cities (1–4 million people) where conventional bus services will play a primary mobility role. The guidelines will be used by authorities with responsibility for improving urban bus and passenger transport services.

The following basic principles apply:

  • The urban public transport system operates in a very complex external environment, which needs to be clearly understood
  • The level and phase of development of public transport varies across Indian cities. There is not one consistent model of urban public transport provision
  • The guidelines accommodate this diversity and are applicable both where there is a high degree of informal service and where bus services are already well organized
  • The guidelines recognize that improvements to bus systems cannot be carried out in isolation. The bus system is a sub-set within the transport system. Therefore, attempts have to be made to improve the total system
  • The guidelines are practical and take into account barriers and challenges which may be faced in implementation
  • The guidelines describe various policy options and their implications
  • The guidelines assist decision taking
  • Practitioners need relevant references to domestic and international good practice

The Guidelines are to assist the State/City authorities to determine the general policy direction, course of action and key actions, with a broad understanding of the expected outcomes. They are not intended to provide detailed engineering, or operational recommendations, or design-level advice.

As a pre-requisite for use, it is recommended that a multidisciplinary Task Force be constituted. This Task Force should have representation from all agencies with a role in providing or regulating transport activities in the city and should also include agencies whose activities indirectly impact on public transport. These Groups should also co-opt experts within the transportation field. The guidelines should be used to help the team develop a city plan, with a degree of detail and comprehensiveness appropriate to the situation. Nonetheless, it is also practical for an individual manager or expert to use the guidelines, for example to develop an outline proposal or discussion paper which, if accepted, would provide the basis for more comprehensive and detailed analysis and planning.

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