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Transport Services in India


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Transport Services in India

Transportation plays a key role in the growth of a country’s economic system; in shaping overall productiveness, quality of life of people, access to commodity and services.

An effective and well devised transportation system plays a significant role in the economic development of a nation. In a country like India, that is of a size of a continent, where economic resources and commercial markets are dotted across the length and breadth of the land, the projection and implementation of an efficient, affordable, dependable and safe transport facilities and services presumes additional importance.

Transportation in India

The transport system in India comprises a number of distinct modes and services, notably railways, roads, road transport, ports, inland water transport, coastal shipping, and pipelines and so on. The transportation system in our country has registered a great run and a solid growth over the years in terms of network spread and transport system output. Various dedicated ministries, authorities, directorates and departments including Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, National Highways Authority of India, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Civil Aviation are responsible for the establishment and execution of policies and programs for the development of system of transportation in the country.

Traditional Transport System of India

The world we live today is a place that is driven by innovation and technology. Transportation is made easy with diverse means of transport options that come with a wide range of facilities and offer high class services to people. For instance, even small sized cars in the market today come packed with a long list of interior and exterior feature which include power-assisted steering, power windows, airbags, tilt adjustable steering, GPS and navigation systems and so on. Keeping the luxury factory aside, most of the cutting-edge features introduced are primarily for the purpose of making the travel experience easier!

In ancient times, there were no automobiles and there were no roads either! But then, people those days had many modes of transport to move around! Not just many modes, people those days used transportation system that was absolutely non-motorized and 100% Eco-friendly. Well, the first transport form of Indians was Shanks pony (walking; your own legs for walking as a means of transport). Those days, people preferred walking as the most important mode of transport even for covering long distances.

Traditional System of India

The earliest mode of transportation has not lost its sheen that even today; walking is considered as one of the most common mode of transport in India.  Then came a time where the luxury tag entered the transport system of India, for the first time, in the name of Palanquins. Popularly known as Palkis, Palanquins basically are wheel less conveyance consisting of a chair or bed carried on two poles by bearers. Today, the usage of Palanquins is limited to special occasions like wedding ceremonies.

Transport System of India

Subsequently, people those days picked up the art of training and using the animals for the purpose of transport, sooner or later. Bullock carts and horse carriages came into existence in India. As a matter of fact, bullock carts were a huge hit and became the most leisurely mode of transportation in the rural parts of our country. The commencement of the British rule in the Indian subcontinent furthered the usage of horse carriages in the country. Today, bullock carts and horse carriages are mostly banned in the urban centers and are seen as a rare mode of transport, that children today are jaw dropping when spotting one!

The subsequent years witnessed the introduction of hand pulled rickshaws and cycle rickshaws which are operated even today in some parts of the country. Most of the urban centers in India banned the movement of hand pulled rickshaws and cycle rickshaws in city limits due to their slow moving nature which potentially create traffic congestion. However, both hand pulled rickshaws and cycle rickshaws are regarded as the most uncomplicated, non-motorized mode of transport in India.

Transport in Andhra Pradesh | Delhi | Goa | Gujarat | Chhattisgarh | Bihar | Assam | Arunachal Pradesh | Jammu and Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Haryana | Kerala | Karnataka | Jharkhand | Madhya Pradesh | Manipur | Maharashtra | Mizoram | Meghalaya | Punjab | Puducherry | Odisha | Nagaland | Rajasthan

Road Transport in India

India Road Map

Transport in India roadways is favored while covering long and short distance. As of 2013, India has a whopping network of road of about 2,914,133 mi (4,689,842 km), which indicates the fact that road transport is the most predominant mode of transport in India. At 660 meters of roads per square kilometer of solid ground, the quantitative compactness of our country's network of road is much more eminent than that of People's Republic of China and Federative Republic of Brazil. The official records from the Government of India indicates that as of 2011, about 25,30,000 kilometers of roads were completed.

Did you know?
India's road network is the second largest network in the world

Salem Coimbatore Highway

Major road development projects are being carried out under the National Highways Development Project, a government initiative implemented in the year 1998. Besides, highway operators and private entities are carrying out many important road development projects. For instance, the Yamuna Expressway - a six lane (extendable to eight lanes), 102.52 miles (165 km) long, expressway exclusively designed for high-speed vehicle traffic, linking Greater Noida with Agra in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, was implemented by the Jaypee Group of Noida.

Yamuna Expressway in India

At present, the Government of India is seeking to boost investments from foreign countries in road projects. Foreign involvement in the Indian road network expansion has appealed to several international contractors and engineering consultants, with Malaysia, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America being the most prominent participants.

Did you know?
India's extensive network of road holds over 65 % of its cargo and about 85 % of vehicular traffic

India's massive network of road is administrated by assorted government agencies. Find below the information about the classification of roads in India and their length and authority (Data as of 2011):

Total Length of Expressways in India: 942 km (585.33 mi)

National Highways (NH)
Total Length of National Highways in India: 92,851 km (57,694.93 mi)
Classification: Single, Intermediate, Double, Four, Six and Eight Lane
Regulating Body: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India

State Highways (SH)
Total Length of State Highways in India: 1,63,898 km (1,01,841.49 mi)
Regulating Body: State Governments, especially Public Works Department of State Governments

Rural Roads
Total Length of Rural Roads in India: 27,49,805 km (17,08,649.61 mi)
Regulating Body: Municipalities, Panchayats and other Local Governing Bodies

Major and Other District Roads
Total Length of Major and Other District Roads in India: 17,05,706 (10,59,876.57 mi)
Regulating Body: Municipalities, Panchayats and other Local Governing Bodies

Did you know?
Yamuna Expressway (connecting Greater Noida with Agra) is the longest six-laned controlled-access expressway stretch in India

Having said all the above information about the massive road network of India, undoubtedly, road transport is the most common mode of transport in the country. Another substantial reason behind the unvanquishable popularity of road transport in India is that among the numerous urban centers of India, only Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad have commuter rail services whereas more than 25 cities across the country are operating city bus services.

Bus Transport in India

Road Transport in India

Bus Transport in India - A Boon to Common Man

Buses are considered as the most affordable and handy mode of transport for all economic classes of society in India.

Did you know?
Buses take over 90% of public transport across the cities in India

Typically, state government run corporations like Madhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (MPSRTC), Nagaland State Transport (NST), Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) and so on. It is important to mention that most of the state government owned transport corporations innovated the bus transport services by bringing air conditioned buses, low floor buses, WiFi enabled buses, LCD television installed buses and so on, on roads.

State Transport Buses in India

Across the Indian cities, an interesting initiative, popularly known as BRTS, that is, Bus Rapid Transit systems have been implemented by many state governments to amend the existing public transport facilities and services in systems in cities. BRTS is all about prioritizing bus commuters with forward-looking facilities and features which include smart ticketing system, lenient boarding system, announcements for passengers, apportioning exclusive space for BRTS and so on. Some of the cities which already have the BRTS in the country include Mumbai, Delhi, Surat, Pune, Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Jaipur.

Tourist Buses in India

Furthermore, many Indian cities operate dedicated bus services (sightseeing buses) for visitors like HOHO buses in the Indian capital Delhi.

Interesting Facts:
  • Chennai, the Detroit of India, is the home of Asia's largest bus terminus, namely, the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus also known as CMBT
  • Mumbai, the financial capital of India, was the first metropolitan city in the country to introduce air conditioned buses (1998)
  • Bengaluru, the information technology capital of India, was the first metropolitan city in the country to introduce Volvo B7LE - a low floor single deck city bus (2006)
  • Bengaluru is the first Indian megacity in India to feature a fully air conditioned bus stop (near Cubbon Park)
  • Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation Limited (TNSTC) is the largest bus corporation in the world
Important Contact Information (Road Transport)

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India
Transport Bhawan
1, Parliament Street
New Delhi-110001
Phone Number: +91-011-23739085, +91-011-23739085

Information and Facilitation Counter
Contact Person: Information and Facilitation Assistant
Ministry of Road Transport & Highways
Phone Number: +91-011-23719955, +91-011-23719955

Honourable Minister of Transport
Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari

Honourable Minister of State for Transport
Shri P. Radhakrishnan

Some of the Important Agencies Functioning under Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India:

National Highway Authority of India (NHAI)
G 5&6, Sector-10, Dwarka,
New Delhi - 110 075
Phone Number: +91-011-25074100, +91-011-25074100/25074200
Fax Number: 91-011-25093507/25093514

Border Roads Organisation
Headquarters - Director General Border Roads
Seema Sadak Bhawan
Ring Road Naraina
Delhi Cantt
New Delhi - 110 010

National Institute for training of Highway Engineers aka Indian Academy of Highway Engineers
A-5, Institutional Area, Sector-62, NH-24 Bypass, Nodia - 201 301 (UP)
Phone Number: 0120-2400085 - 86, 2405006 - 09
Fax: 0120 - 2400087

Indian Roads Congress
The Secretary General
Indian Roads Congress
Sector 6, (Near RBI Quarters),
R K Puram, New Delhi- 110022
Secretariat: 011-2618 5273011-2618 5273, 2618 5315, 2671 6778, 2618 5319
Fax: 91-011-2618 3669

Wings Functioning under Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India:
  • Roads Wing
  • Transport Wing

Rail Transport in India

Railway Network Map
Indian Railways - Lifeline to the Nation

Introduced in 1853, rail transport services in India are one among the prominent and reliable mode of transport in the country. Transporting more than 23,000,000 passengers a day and 1050.18 million metric tons of goods annually, across the length and breadth of India, Indian Railways is nothing short of a crucial lifeline to the nation. An Indian state owned enterprise, Indian Railways (shortly written as IR), controlled by the Government of India through the Ministry of Railways, run both suburban and long distance services on a network of broad gauge, metre gauge and narrow gauge lines.

Indian Train

Besides, the massive railways operate passenger car production and locomotive engine production facilities across the country. The operations of Indian Railways address 29 Indian states and seven union territories (UTs) and offers international services to the Kingdom of Nepal, People's Republic of Bangladesh and Islamic Republic of Pakistan as well.

Did you know?
Indian Railways is the third largest network of rail transport in the world after the United States of America and Russian Federation with 116,000 km (length) of rail lines

PAlace on Wheels

Indian Railways is separated into various railway zones, which are further sub-divided into various railway divisions. At present, the Indian Railways have seventeen railway zones and sixty-eight railway divisions. Some of the well known railway zones include southern railway, central railway, western railway, eastern railway, northern railway, south central railway, south western railway and so on. Trains in India are broadly classified based on their average speed. With the introduction of Train 18 or Vande Bharat Express transport in Indian railways has seen new heights of success.

Did you know?
Indian Railways operate about 7,172 railway stations of various sizes, located across the nation

Some of the important categories of trains of Indian Railways include Duronto express, Rajdhani express, Shatabdi express, Superfast express, Suburban trains and so on.

Express trains in India

Apart from a wide range of passenger and goods trains, Indian Railways also operate several luxury tourist trains, which are a huge hit among the travelers. Some of the most popular luxury tourist trains of India include
  • Maharajas' Express
  • Palace on Wheels
  • Deccan Odyssey
  • Royal Rajasthan on Wheels
  • Steam Express
  • Bharat Darshan
  • Mahaparinirvan Express
Important Contact Information (Rail Transport)

Ministry of Railways, Government of India
Rail Bhawan, Rafi Marg,New Delhi - 110001

Honourable Minister of Railways
Shri. Suresh Prabhu
Phone Number: +91-11-23386645+91-11-23386645, 23381213
Fax Number: +91 23387333

Honourable Minister of State for Railways
Phone Number: +91-11-23382323+91-11-23382323, 23384413
Fax Number: +91 23385025

Interesting Facts:
  • April 1853 - India's first train was operated from Bombay (Mumbai) to Thane
  • Bholu, the guard elephant is the mascot of Indian Railways
  • Slowest train of India - Metupalayam Ooty Nilgiri Passenger train that is operated at 10 kmph
  • Indian Railways (IR) is the seventh largest commercial or utility employer in the world
  • 1986 - First computerized reservation counter established in Delhi
  • Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh has the longest platform in the world (1366.33 m in length)

Air Transport in India

Air India Flight
Air Transport in India - Sky is (not) the Limit!

Transport in India airways comprises of airplanes and helicopters. Planes can be categorized into domestic and international. There are also chartered planes to carry a limited number of people. Helicopters are used regularly to reach long-distance in a pretty short time. The Ministry of Civil Aviation of the Government of India is the principal governing body responsible for civil air transport in the country. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), a (civil air transport) regulatory body comes under the administrative ambit of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Furthermore, the Ministry of Civil Aviation in India also operates independent establishments like the Air India, Airports Authority of India (AAI), Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited.

Did you know?
On 18 February 1911, the first commercial flight of India departed from Allahabad for Naini

IGI Airport

Air India is the national carrier of India, owned by the Air Indian Limited. Air India operates a large group of aircraft operating together, serving several international and domestic destinations. As of 2014, Air India is the third largest civil air transport carrier in the country after IndiGo and Jet Airways. Some of the popular names in the Indian airlines industry include GoAir, Jet Airways, Spice Jet Airlines, Air Asia, Jet Konnect, Air Costa, Deccan Shuttles, IndiGo Airlines, JetLite and so on.

India has more than 100 domestic airports and more than 12 international airports serving the aviation needs and demands of the population. Some of the important international airports in India include:
As a part of civil air transport infrastructure, India houses more than 45 heliports across the country.

Did you know?
India houses the world's highest helipad located on the Siachen Glacier (altitude of 21,000 ft above sea level)

Helicopters in India

New Delhi based Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited is the major helicopter services provider in the country. The helicopter company offers charter services to a wide range of locations including Kedarnath, Badrinath and Chardham Yatra, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura, Lakshadweep, Amarnath Dham passenger services, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and so on.

Quick Facts (Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited):

Headquarters: New Delhi
Parent Organisation: Air India Limited
Hubs: Juhu Aerodrome, Mumbai
Secondary Hubs: Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi
Fleet Size: 47
Callsign: PAWAN HANS

Pawan Hans Ltd - Office Address

Address 1:
C-14, Sector-1, Gautam Budh Nagar, Noida (U.P.) – 201 301
Phone Number: 0120-24767000120-2476700

Address 2:
Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi, 110 003
Phone Number: 011-24615711011-24615711

Address 3:
Juhu Aerodrome,S. V. Road, Vile Parle (West), Mumbai, 400 056
Phone Number: 022-26142614022-26142614, 26146211

Address 4:
3rd Floor, Hotel Rajashri Inn, VIP Airport Road, near LGBI Airport, Kamrup(Metro), Guwahati 781015, Assam
Phone Number: 0361- 28421750361- 2842175

Important Contact Information (Civil Aviation):

Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India
Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan, Safdarjung Airport,
New Delhi – 110 003

Honourable Minister of Civil Aviation
Shri. P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju
Phone Number: +91-11-24610350+91-11-24610350, 24632991
Fax Number: +91 24610354

Honourable Minister of State of Civil Aviation
Shri. Mahesh Sharma
Phone Number: +91-11-23174148+91-11-23174148
Fax Number: +91 23174148

Water Transport in India

Indian Waterways

Transport in India waterways is the easiest and cheap mode of transport. Unlike rail and road transport we do not have to construct waterways because river and seas are given by nature. Water transport in India is administrated by the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), a Government of India Public Sector Enterprise. Headquartered in Mumbai, SCI oversees offshore and other maritime transport facilities and infrastructure in India. Rivers, canals, Creeks, Backwaters are some of the important inland waterways of India.

Bengal Pandaw

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the supreme agency that manages the waterways in India. Find below some of the national waterways of India:

National Waterway 1 (NW1)
Allahabad–Haldia stretch of the Ganges–Bhagirathi–Hooghly river system
Estd: October 1986
Length: 1,620 km
Fixed Terminals: Haldia, BISN (Kolkata), Pakur, Farrakka and Patna.
Floating Terminals: Haldia, Kolkata, Diamond Harbour, Katwa, Tribeni, Baharampur, Jangipur, Bhagalpur, Semaria, Doriganj, Ballia, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Chunar and Allahabad

National Waterway 2 (NW-2)
Estd: September 1988
Length    : 891 km
North End: Sadiya
South End: Bangladesh border
No. of Terminals: 11
Fixed Terminals: Pandu
Floating Terminals: Dhubri, Jogighopa, Tezpur, Silghat, Dibrugarh, Jamuguri, Bogibil, Saikhowa and Sadiya

National Waterway 3 (NW-3)
Kottapuram-Kollam stretch of the West Coast Canal, Champakara Canal and Udyogmandal Canal.
Estd: February 1993
Length: 205 km
Fixed Terminals: Aluva, Vaikom, Kayamkulam, Kottappuram, Maradu, Cherthala, Thrikkunnapuzha, Kollam and Alappuzha.

National Waterway 4 (NW-4)
Kakinada-Pondicherry stretch of canals and the Kaluvelly Tank, Bhadrachalam - Rajahmundry stretch of River Godavari and Wazirabad - Vijayawada stretch of River Krishna.
Estd: November 2008
Length: 1,095 km

National Waterway 5 (NW-5)
Talcher-Dhamra stretch of the Brahmani River, the Geonkhali - Charbatia stretch of the East Coast Canal, the Charbatia-Dhamra stretch of Matai river and the Mangalgadi - Paradip stretch of the Mahanadi River Delta.
Estd: November 2008
Length: 623 km

National Waterway 6 (NW-6)
In Assam,Lakhipur to Bhanga of river Barak.
Estd: 2013
Length: 121 km

Important Contact Information (Water Transport):

Ministry of Shipping, Government of India
Transport Bhawan
New Delhi – 110001

Inland Waterways Authority of India
(Ministry of Shipping)
Head Office, A-13, Sector -1, Noida,U.P.
Pin Code: 201301
Phone Number: 0120-25440360120-2544036,2521684, 2522798,2521724
Fax Number: 0120- 2544041,2543973,2521764, 2544009

Honourable Minister of Shipping
Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari

Honourable Minister of State for Shipping
Shri P. Radhakrishnan

Local Transport in India

Bangalore Metro

The number of buses operated across the Indian cities is negligible when compared to the options available for local transport in the country. Find below some of the popular options for local transport in India:

Metro Rail
An integral part of rapid transit in India, metro rail services are first introduced in the 'city of joy' Kolkata, West Bengal. Today, metro rail services are operational across six locations and many other metro systems are under construction. Rapid metro rail Gurgaon, Kolkata metro, Bangalore metro, Delhi metro, Chennai mass rapid transit system, Mumbai metro are the metro systems presently operated in India.

Local Transport in India

Though different in color from state to state, taxis in India are an integral part of day to day local transport options. With the introduction of online booking and application based taxi services, the service providers are coming up with a wide range of new concepts and facilities to serve the travel needs and demands of the customers. Taxis operated across the nation have regulated metered fares.

Auto Rickshaw
Local Road Transport in India

A tough competitor to the taxi cabs in India; auto rickshaws are handy and have regulated metered fares. They provide round the clock services in most of the urban centers.

Transport in India

The year 2014 witnessed the first operational monorail in India in the form of Mumbai monorail.

Light Rail
Considered as a feeder system for the metro rail systems, light rail projects have been proposed in Thiruvananthapuram, Kolkata, Delhi and Kozhikode.

Local Transport in India

Introduced during the 19th century by British people, the legendary Kolkata tram is the only public tram system operated in the country. The Kolkata tram offers an emission-free means of transportation in the city.

Other Local Transport
The number of (private) two wheelers and cars (especially compact cars) operated in India are on a rise due to the fact that they are known for their fuel efficient nature and other advantages which include ease of use in busy roads, affordability and so on.

Rural Transport in India

TN Mini Buses

The Census of 2011 indicates that 72.2 % of Indian citizens live in 638,000 villages across the country. Some settlements have a population of less than 100 while others have a population of more than 25,000 people. Most of the villages in India are connected through a variety of road transport with other villages, towns and cities. Nonetheless, the rural parts of India are hassled by bad roads and transport services that are not frequent.

On the other hand, a considerable share of villages in India gained various benefits due to the initiative, schemes and programs implemented by the central government like Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). Today, many Indian villages have good roads and are well connected to the other parts of the country. Buses, minibuses, share autos, tractors and other vehicles are plying in the villages to meet the demands of the population. For instance, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, a first-of-its-kind mini bus scheme was introduced (1999) to connect the villages of the state. At present, there are almost 4,000 mini uses are plying in Tamil Nadu serving the rural population of the state. On a whole we can say that today a well-knit and coordinated system of transportation in India is playing an important role in the sustained growth of our country.
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