Thursday, December 15, 2011

Article Predicts Personal Rapid Transit Will Take Business Away From Taxis and Rickshaws in Amritsar

Tuesday, I posted "Shopkeepers in India Are Fasting in Protest Against the Personal Rapid Transit Boondoggle". It's not just shopkeepers who have to worry about losing their livelihoods to the elevated pods.

Projects Monitor:

In India, the ULTra system can be optimised by offering cheaper tickets on a seat-by-seat basis with ride sharing, and premium tickets which cover the cost of an entire vehicle. ULTra fares will be competitive with fares charged by taxis and autorickshaws, which are currently the main form of short-range urban transport. These different options allow the same ULTra infrastructure to simultaneously function as a lowcost, high-capacity people mover, and as a premium taxi service.

The article doesn't say what will happen to all the taxi drivers and rickshaw operators who will be put out of business. The article goes on to applaud the predicted "shift" in revenue from locally owned rickshaws and taxis to an automated system operated by a UK-based corporation:

There could also be a shift towards PRT from other road intensive transportation. Every day in Amritsar nearly one lakh pilgrims and tourists visit the Golden Temple, and they mostly depend on rickshaws or autorickshaws. Reduced congestion on the ground will even enable these transport systems to work more efficiently with enhanced revenues accruing to the operators.

"The Personal Rapid Transit system is a high-capacity system which is projected to make approximately 14 million passenger trips to the Golden Temple on a daily basis. The cost of the Amritsar project could be nearly 250 crore and is to be taken up in public-private partnership.

Operating as a "public-private partnership"? The citizens of Amritsar really need to read the fine print regarding that. Given that this project is projected to be the "World’s first and largest urban PRT system", Amritsar could be on the hook if this project collided with reality like PRT projects in the past.

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