Volvo Buses in India today organised the third edition of Sweden India Nobel Memorial Week 2011, titled ‘Public & Public Transport’ in Bangalore under the patronage of The Embassy of Sweden. On this occasion, the company also announced the winner of the first Volvo Sustainable Mobility Award 2011 – an award instituted by Volvo to encourage positive initiatives to support sustainable Mobility. The winner for the award was Mapunity with an award prize of 700,000 INR. While there was no runner up, Praja received special recognition with support of 250,000 INR. KSRTC & BMTC received awards for Unique Initiatives in the category “Excellence in Public Transport”.
This is the first edition of the award. The response to this was encouraging wherein Volvo received entries from a wide spectrum of people – professionals, academics, institutes, operators and students.
The Volvo Sustainable Mobility Awards aims at creating a culture of supporting progressive and practical steps, positively engaging the world around us to deliver sustainable transport solutions and thereby better quality of life in the cities. Volvo Buses aims to use this award to engage with all the stakeholders in public transportation, supporting them and also learning in the process.
The Volvo Sustainable Mobility Award jury adjudged Mapunity as the winner for its project. The winner was given trophy, certificate and reward money of 700,000 INR. According the jury members, Mapunity has used an innovative approach to study the travel patterns in order to realise the most efficient bus routes. With the Direction Based (Bus) Service they have also used a completely new way of thinking when setting up the network of bus lines. Not only that they have taken the step to realise the new bus services, but the implementation seems to be quite successful in its first try. That is truly rare and a breakthrough in applying the travel information to increase the efficiency of bus routes. The efficiency increase is twofold:
While there was no Runners Up to the award, Praja – a citizen Group – was conferred with Special Recognition. This award to Praja, included recognition for their work towards mobilising public support to multiple urban transport initiatives such as metro rail, city bus services, bus priority system, cycle transport, and more. The jury was unanimous in acknowledging Praja’s efforts and on its part Volvo Buses has committed to support the group with an amount of 250,000 INR. The jury concurred that Praja has a structured approach backed by excellent fieldwork & have presented innovative approaches to deal with the issue of sustainable transport.
The jury was positively surprised with excellent ideas that have been shared in this first edition of the Award. However, while many projects are promising, they need to go that extra step to see results versus their original objective. The Volvo Sustainability Award is evaluated under the following criteria: understanding the problem; innovative & relevant approach; actions taken; and results.
Excellence in Public Transport
The jury conferred awards for ‘Excellence in Public Transport’ to the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) for their unique initiatives.
BMTC was given this award for the Vayu Vajra Service connecting the city to the airport. This service has become a benchmark, which has been adopted by other cities in India
On the other hand, KSRTC was acknowledged for its initiative in starting a public transport service in the tier II city of Tumkur, near Bangalore. With this initiative KSRTC has shown the way by pre-empting a demand and creating a system that can evolve as the city grows.
The jury comprised of Shri. MK Shankarlinge Gowda, Principal Secretary (Transport), Govt. of Karnataka as the Chairman, along with Mr. Edward Jobson, Environment Director, Volvo Bus Corporation, Prof. TG Sitharam, Chairman, CiSTUP, Indian Institute of Science and Mr. Vinay Rao, Independent Advisor on Climate Change and Sustainability.
The Sweden-India Nobel Week Seminar
Like every year, the seminar aimed at creating collaboration among all stakeholders and building a shared vision among them. The topic of the seminar this year was "The Public & Public Transport – The Challenges Within”. The seminar started with bringing a citizen perspective before moving onto a panel discussion including eminent members from the government authority, transport operator, industry and media. The whole session threw up some interesting insights and ideas on the next steps to improve public transport in cities in India.
The panel members included Shri. MK Shankarlinge Gowda, Principal Secretary (Transport), Govt. of Karnataka, Shri Gaurav Kumar Gupta, IAS, MD, KSRTC, Mr. Hakan Karlsson, President & CEO, Volvo Bus Corporation, Mr. S Chandrasekhar, Chairman, CII Karnataka and Mr Edison Thomas, Editor, Bangalore Times.
The frame for the panel discussion was set by Sameer Shisodia, Citizen Representative; Hakan Karlsson President & CEO, Volvo Bus Corporation along with Mikael Kullman, Counsellor for Environment, Climate Change & Energy – Embassy of Sweden.
Mr Hakan Karlsson, President & CEO, Volvo Bus Corporation said, ‘Sustainable mobility is the need of the hour. I have seen some good changes already happening in India, particularly in Bangalore. There is a clear focus what needs to be done to create a sustainable and environment friendly transport system. There is lot of work happening in this direction and I am confident that positive developments backed by strong policies will provide the required impetus.”
Mr Akash Passey, Managing Director & CEO, Volvo Buses in India, said, ‘The seminar this year had a very interesting and pertinent topic for discussion. The question is who must move first. The Public seeks that public transportation comes to their door step before they change their lifestyles, while the public transport operators feel that the public must co-operate in the overall change towards adopting public transport. This seminar has thrown up many a practical questions & answers that we must respond to.”
Volvo Buses in India
Volvo Buses has been in India for 10 years and has the richest experience when it comes to high-performing bus applications. This, coupled with its state-of-the-art factory and overall profile of being a complete transport solutions provider, gives it a unique ability to be in the best position to understand the needs of the Indian market and configure products accordingly. Volvo Buses today operates across 12 cities in India, besides Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It is the second largest European brand with a strong presence in key markets in Asia. At present, there are about 5,000 Volvo buses operating in the SAARC region, both in the city and inter-city segments.
October 14, 2011
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