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Public transport subsidies and affordability in Mumbai, India


  • Cropper, Maureen
  • Bhattacharya, Soma


This paper describes the role of public transport and the nature and incidence of transport subsidies in Mumbai, India. Mumbai has an extensive rail and bus network, and public transport is used for over 75 percent of all motorized trips in Greater Mumbai. Both rail and bus fares in Mumbai are subsidized: BEST, which operates public buses in Mumbai, is also an electric utility, and subsidizes bus fares from electricity revenues. We analyze the incidence ofthese subsidies, and their effect on mode choice, using data from a survey of households in Greater Mumbai. In Mumbai, as in many cities, the middle class is more likely to use public transport for travel than the poor. The poor, however, also use public transit, and their expenditure on public transit constitutes, on average, a larger share of their income than it does for the middle class. It is, therefore, the case that the poor benefit from transit subsidies in Mumbai, as well as the middle and upper-middle classes; however, the poorest 27 percent of the population receives only 19 percent of bus subsidies and 15.5 percent of rail subsidies. Indeed, 26 percent of the lowest income households surveyed do not use rail, while 10 percent do not use bus, implying that they receive no transit subsidies. Expenditure on transport accounts for 16 percent of income in the lowest income category (

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  • Cropper, Maureen & Bhattacharya, Soma, 2007. "Public transport subsidies and affordability in Mumbai, India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4395, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4395

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrés Gómez-Lobo, 2011. "Affordability of Public Transport A Methodological Clarification," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 45(3), pages 437-456, September.
    2. Carlos Henrique Ribeiro de Carvalho & Rafael Henrique Moraes Pereira, 2011. "The Effects of Income and Fare Variation on the Demand for Bus Transit Services in Brazil," Discussion Papers 1595, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
    3. Timilsina, Govinda R. & Dulal, Hari B., 2008. "Fiscal policy instruments for reducing congestion and atmospheric emissions in the transport sector : a review," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4652, The World Bank.
    4. Rajesh Gupta & Vaibhav Bhamoriya, 2021. "‘Give Me Some Rail’: An Enquiry into Puzzle of Declining Female Labour Force Participation Rate," Management and Labour Studies, XLRI Jamshedpur, School of Business Management & Human Resources, vol. 46(1), pages 7-23, February.
    5. Andrés Gómez-Lobo, 2009. "A New Look at the Incidence of Public Transport Subsidies: A Case Study of Santiago, Chile," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 43(3), pages 405-425, September.
    6. Tiznado-Aitken, Ignacio & Lucas, Karen & Muñoz, Juan Carlos & Hurtubia, Ricardo, 2022. "Freedom of choice? Social and spatial disparities on combined housing and transport affordability," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 39-53.
    7. Chidambaram, Bhuvanachithra & Janssen, Marco A. & Rommel, Jens & Zikos, Dimitrios, 2014. "Commuters’ mode choice as a coordination problem: A framed field experiment on traffic policy in Hyderabad, India," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 9-22.
    8. Irem Batool & Muhammad Irshad & Muhammad Abid, 2020. "A Policy Move towards Sustainable Urban Transport in Pakistan: Measuring the Social, Environmental and Economic Impacts of Lahore BRT System," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 27-57, Jan-June.
    9. World Bank, 2011. "A Gender Assessment of Mumbai's Public Transport," World Bank Publications - Reports 12347, The World Bank Group.

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    Transport Economics Policy&Planning; Transport in Urban Areas; Urban Transport; Roads&Highways;
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