Para transit systems across the world catered to different segments of the population and have been considered an informal means of transit. In a country with a billion population share autos, share taxis, maxi cabs etc has been moving people across short distances in an effective manner.They have been found to be an efficient, accessible and safe transit system. Motorized paratransit systems, such as Autos and Share Autos (India), Matatus (Kenya), Jeepneys (Philippines), Dala- Dalas (Tanzania) etc provide cheap and flexible transport throughout the cities and they can even ply on narrow roads, where no other form of transportation is viable.
However the Government of India has been slow to recognize the para transit system as a part of the public transport system inspite of the mass mobility utilization. In fact the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) of India mentions that:
“Paratransit is normally expected to fulfill a need that neither public transport nor personal vehicles are able to fulfill. They normally cater to a category of occasional trips such as trips to airports or rail stations with excessive baggage, or emergency trips that have to be undertaken immediately and it is not possible to wait for public transport”.
However the manner in which Para transit systems like Share autos work in India is larger and greater in scope than that provided in the explanation. Share autos are a common site in cities like Chennai, Lucknow, Indore, Rajkot etc.
The share auto system in Chennai became one of the major attractions after its introduction in 1998. With the entry of Tata Magic and Mahindra Maxximo models plying as share auto, the para transit system witnessed tremendous growth potential. Often, these transit systems runs parallely to the public transport system like buses, train etc and has been instrumental in feeding people to such modes, acting as an efficient feeder system. Civitas Urban Solutions conducted a study for Chennai City Connect Foundation (CCCF) to understand and analyse the share auto system in Chennai.