Explained: What is Odisha’s Mo Bus, recipient of the UN’s prestigious public service award?

Mo Bus, the bus service of Odisha’s Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT) authority, has been recognized by the United Nations as one of the 10 global recipients of its annual Public Service Awards for 2022, it was reported Wednesday (June 22).

The public transport service has been recognized for its role in “promoting gender-sensitive public services to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” according to the UN.

Among the other winners of this year’s awards, announced by Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs at a virtual event commemorating United Nations Public Service Day (celebrated on 22 June), were public service initiatives from Thailand, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Panama, the Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Ukraine.

Recognition for Odisha

The UN acknowledgment said the “problem” was that “bus services in Bhubaneswar city needed to be improved”, causing “the majority of people to use private vehicles, two-wheelers and auto rickshaws to commute instead of taking public transport.” †

As the “solution”, in 2018, the Odisha government has “reorganized public transport in the city to provide an integrated, reliable and inclusive public bus system”. Mo Bus, the UN noted, has integrated “real-time technologies such as live tracking, trip planner and e-ticketing”, and an e-rickshaw system called “Mo E-Ride” has been introduced as a last-mile feeder service.

The “impact” is that 57 percent of commuters in the city now use the Mo Bus, the UN said. Mo E-Ride is estimated to reduce pollution by 30-50 percent. Also, “40 percent of Mo Bus conductors are women and 100 percent of Mo E-Ride drivers are women, transgender people and people from disadvantaged communities,” the UN noted.

The Mo Bus service

According to the CRUT website, the Mo Bus service was launched on November 6, 2018 to ensure “transformation of the urban public transport scenario in the city and hinterland by leveraging smart technology, service benchmarking and customer satisfaction”.
CRUT plans to introduce 289 buses in three phases with the introduction of 200 new buses and the refurbishment of 89 old buses, the website says. It is proposed to expand the service to Cuttack soon, it says.

The buses are designed to integrate smart technologies such as free on-board Wi-Fi service, digital announcements, surveillance cameras and electronic ticketing. CRUT says that to increase female participation in the workforce and to make female drivers feel safer, it has committed to ensuring that 50% of Mo Bus Guides (conductors) are women.

Air-conditioned Mo Bus fares start at Rs 5 and go up to Rs 70; non-AC rates are from Rs 5 to Rs 55.

Other awards from Mo Bus

In 2019, the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs awarded a special award to CRUT the Bhubaneswar City Bus Modernization Project, popularly known as the Mo Bus service. The citation, presented at the 12th Urban Mobility India Conference-cum-Expo 2019 in Lucknow, read: “The project is a boost to people’s confidence in using affordable intra-urban services that have the potential to alleviate congestion and timely mobility. to relieve commuters.”

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In 2020, the MoHUA presented the 13th Urban Mobility India Award to CRUT for “Innovations executed in urban transport during Covid-19”, and in 2021 the 14th Urban Mobility India Award to Odisha as the “State that had implemented the best urban transport Projects of last year”.

UN Public Service Award

The UN describes its Public Service Awards as the “most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service”. It aims to reward “the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions leading to more effective and responsive public administration in countries around the world”.

“Through an annual competition, the UN Public Service Awards promotes the role, professionalism and visibility of public service,” it reads.
The UN Public Service Day celebrates the value and virtue of public service to the community, highlights its contribution to the development process, recognizes the work of civil servants and encourages young people to pursue careers in the public sector. The first awards ceremony took place in 2003 and the UN has since received “an increasing number of entries from around the world”.

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