The people behind the wheel: Rupa Nandy’s story, UITP India
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Posted: 11 April 2023 | Rupa Nandy - UITP India | No comments yet
For the latest instalment of Intelligent Transport’s exclusive ‘The people behind the wheel’ series, Rupa Nandy, Head of UITP India, discusses some of the key projects that she has worked on over the course of her career in the transport industry and shares her hopes to see public transportation become the preferred mode of travel in India and beyond.
Can you tell us about your role at UITP India?
I head the India subdivision of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), and lead UITP’s membership management, advocacy, research and networking activities in India.
What inspired you to seek a career in the transport industry?
I hold a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and a Bachelor’s degree in Planning from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. Right from my studies, I have always been inclined towards a career in public transportation. It is a fascinating industry and a very high growth sector, too.
Have you experienced any challenges in your role and, if yes, how have you overcome them?
Challenges remain day to day; while India is a populated country, the public transport services do not commensurate with it. Most of the public transportation in India comes from the informal sector, as the formal organisations have limited capability of innovation, especially in the bus sector.
Has a career in transport changed your perception of the industry as a whole?
Providing seamless and adequate public transportation is a humongous task that is carried out by our public transport authorities and operators on a daily basis”
Yes. From the outside, public transportation seems like an easy service to provide to our citizens; however, through my experience of closely working with public transport providers, I have found that it’s an exceptionally complex service where many variables must be considered. Providing seamless and adequate public transportation is a humongous task that is carried out by our public transport authorities and operators on a daily basis.
What would be the top three highlights of your career in the industry to date?
Three highlights of my career would have to be:
- Working on Delhi’s public buses’ automatic vehicle location system – being involved right from inception to operation
- Working as a Category Manager at Ola Cabs – I had launched a category called Ola Pink, which was driven and ridden by women. Although Ola didn’t expand the category further, it was a high impact project
- Taking research projects to a different level in terms of quality and scale at UITP India.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I would see myself working in the same industry five years down the line and making a much larger impact in the sector.
What key pieces of advice would you give to someone who is interested in a career in transport?
One has to understand that the public transport sector is a social service that is provided to the citizens of a city and nation; hence, it is an obligatory service and the right of all individuals, without having a motive for profit. However, one has to also keep in mind that, for it to be successful, the quality, reliability and accessibility of public transport services has to be maintained.
In the future, what do you hope to see become more commonplace in the transport industry workforce?
I would like to see the people that are working in the sector be proud of themselves for providing such an essential service to their communities”
I would like to see more women in the workforce, and I would also like to see the people that are working in the sector be proud of themselves for providing such an essential service to their communities, like doctors or police personnel are, for example.
In an ideal world, what do you hope the future of public transport will look like?
In an ideal world, public transportation… would be a preferred choice of travel”
In an ideal world, I would want at least 70% of trips in all urban areas of India and beyond to happen through public transport. In an ideal world, public transportation would not just be someone’s option if they cannot afford personal transport but, rather, it would be a preferred choice of travel.
Rupa Nandy is Head of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) India and is responsible for expansion, development and management of membership, research, events and training portfolio of UITP in India. At UITP, Rupa is involved in various projects with electric buses, focussed on the planning, procurement and financing of electric buses in India. In the past, she has worked with new mobility cab players, where she had led a category that had been driven and ridden by women. Rupa has also been involved in strategy and business development for large transportation projects and in various key transportation projects implementation, such as the Automatic Vehicle Location System in all of Delhi’s public transit buses, Detailed Design and Engineering Report for BRTS corridors, the implementation of an Automatic Fare Collection System and various transportation studies.
Accessibility, Mobility Services, Public Transport, Sustainable Urban Transport, The People Behind the Wheel Series, Workforce Inclusivity
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International Association for Public Transport (UITP)