AICTSL is the Special Purpose Vehicle constituted in 2006 by Madhya Pradesh state government for providing public transport (PT) services in Indore. Prior to 2006, in absence of a State Road Transport Authority PT in Indore was provided by small operators running minibuses and "tempos". These services were highly disorganized, very unsafe, and completely unreliable. This led to a surge in number of private vehicles, especially two wheelers. Between 2017 and 2021 more than 7,00,000 vehicles were registered in Indore city of which more than 70% are two-wheelers and almost 20% are cars. This increase in private vehicle ownership has contributed to an increase in pollution with a 65% increase in the levels of PM10, 57% increase in PM2.5, and 40% increase in NOx between 2017 and 2021.
The challenge before city authorities and planners was to re-introduce PT services in the city to reduce general public’s reliance on private modes of transport. But provision of PT would not be enough, the services had to be reliable, efficient, and affordable for inducing mode shift from private vehicles to PT.
Introduction of PT at city wide scale is a costly affair and thus needed ingenuity on authorities’ part to overcome this obstacle.
To setup new PT bus services in Indore, Atal Indore City Transport Services Ltd (AICTSL) was set up in 2006, with the following objectives,
• Improve quality and cost effectiveness of public/ urban transport.
• Reduce fuel use, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
• Improve accessibility, traffic safety and passenger security.
• Improve quality of public spaces and access to city benefits for all income classes. Increase competitiveness of the city; reduce the cost of getting to work.
• Increase opportunity for sustainable mobility business.
• Enhance Integrated Multimodal Public Transport System.
• Promoting Public Transport Safety and protecting Environment.
Subsequently, employing a first-of-its-kind innovative public private partnership (PPP) model, AICTSL started city bus services with negligible investment from the government.
This model of citybus operations rapidly gained popularity across the country and came to be popularly known as the “Indore model of bus operations”.
Through the years, AICTSL’s services have evolved along with the demands in public transport sector in the city. AICTSL provides the following services in and from Indore,
• City Bus
• Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS)
• i-Ride (two-wheeler rental service)
• Public Bicycle sharing (PBS)
The decision of setting up AICTSL as SPV for PT in Indore was taken because through AICTSL Indore Municipal Corporation could introduce efficient PT buses in the city without significant infusion of public money.
- Atal Indore City Transport Services Limited (AICTSL) is a public transport system comprising buses in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. It is the first public transport system in the country to be operated in a public-private partnership (PPP) model. AICTSL is currently operating a fleet of over 800 buses and carrying more than 3 lakh ridership. The buses are equipped with state-of-the-art features such as electronic ticketing, GPS tracking, CCTV cameras and automated fare collection. The ridership on AICTSL has grown steadily since its launch in 2016.
- In its first year, AICTSL recorded over 6 million trips and the number has grown to about 8 million in 2018. AICTSL provides an efficient and reliable service to commuters in Indore and has become an important part of the city's public transport system.
- AICTSL PPP model thus minimizing investment of public funds in services that require large sums of upfront cash for operations. Between 2012 and 2022, average daily ridership of intracity buses in Indore has risen by 1200% (from 22,654 to 2,58,932) while the fleet has risen by 1300% over the same period (from 89 to 835).
- Bus operation financing models under AICTSL have adapted to the timely needs. The evolution of financing mechanism/ models has created a revolutionary change in bus services in Indore. These financing mechanisms have made intracity services sustainable with cross subsidizing operations via advertisements, intercity and interstate operations’ premium, city Dedicated Urban Transport Fund (DUTF). AICTSL (with the experience of 15 years in bus operations) has tested different financing models and evolved best financing strategies to ensure sustainability of its bus operations.
- AICTSL has also introduced alternate fuelled buses in its fleet for making bus operations more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Currently, of its fleet of 487 intracity buses, AICTSL operates 40 electric buses and 148 CNG buses. The CNG buses being operated in Indore are fuelled by bio-CNG produced in the biomethanation plant from the wet waste gathered from the city. This biomethanation plant has been setup by Indore Municipal Corporation and the bio-CNG is provided to AICTSL at a discount of ₹5 per litre. In future AICTSL is resolved to replace its Internal Combustion Engine fleet with CNG and electric buses entirely.
- Now that Indore has a well-developed public transport system consisting of city buses, an award-winning BRT, and intermediate paratransit system in place. Indore city needed a first / last mile connectivity, one that is environment friendly as well as a low-cost mobility option for its city residents.
- To fulfil this need, AICTSL implemented a PBS project for Indore which would span across the city and contain 3000 bicycles and 300 docking stations across the city.
- Dearth of funds for buying buses
- No experienced operators for buses in Indore
- Initial opposition for BRT
- Innovation of financial models to the demands of the market and the PT ecosystem has led to development of faith in the system by private operators.
- Introduction of non-farebox revenue generation measures has alleviated financial burden from AICTSL.
- Introduction of technology enhanced features like bus passes, tap-in and tap-out features for fare collection, real-time tracking of buses etc. have made bus travel easier and smoother for passengers and thus increased patronage year on year.
- 1200% increase in average daily passengers between 2012 and 2022
- 1300% increase in bus fleet between 2012 and 2022
- Increase in private operators willing to work with AICTSL
By capitalizing on the various financial models and innovating non-farebox revenue streams, AICTSL is looking increase its fleet and ridership to 1000 and 5,00,000 respectively. As the city grows, its transport needs shall grow in tandem. AICTSL is thus looking to increase the city’s 20% mode share in buses to 50% in the next decade.
1. Connectivity: The Atal Bus Service has improved connectivity between Indore and various other locations in the region, making it easier for people to travel to and from the city.
2. Cost-Effectiveness: The Atal Bus Service has been designed to be more cost-effective than other modes of transportation, making it an attractive option for commuters.
3. Safety: The Atal Bus Service has been designed to provide a safe and secure journey for passengers, with regular maintenance and safety checks.
4. Reliability: The Atal Bus Service is reliable and efficient, with buses running regularly and on-time.
5. Comfort: The Atal Bus Service provides comfortable seating and amenities, making the journey more enjoyable for passengers.
6. Environmentally Friendly: The Atal Bus Service runs on clean energy sources, making it an environmentally friendly option.
1. Implementation of Intelligent Transit Management System for better planning and operations of buses
2. Passenger Information System provides real-time location of buses and accurate ETA of buses at stops.
3. Tap-in, tap-out facility inside the buses makes travel easier.
4. Innovative financial models help make bus operations sustainable.