India is witnessing rapid urbanisation and motorisation. While the urban population is growing at the rate of 3.16 % per year, motor vehicles are growing at a rate of 9%. (Sharma, Jain, and Singh, 2011). Today, buses constitute less than 1% of the total registered vehicles in Indian cities (Road Transport Yearbook, 2011-12). In fact, very few Indian cities have organised, regularised and regulated public transport system. In the absence of an organised city bus service, the gap is being filled by intermediate public transport (IPT) modes like 3-wheelers auto-rickshaws, Tempos and Tata magic, etc which provide public transport services (India Transport Report- Moving India to 2032, 2014).
The Central Government’s recent policy initiatives, such as the 2005 Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) and the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP), 2006 aim to provide a vision and framework to promote sustainable urban transport in India. The recent recommendations of the working group on urban transport, both for the 12th Five Year Plan and the NTDPC, stress the need to improve the IPT services due to their potential of providing clean mobility and low emissions solutions. This study focuses on the major challenges the IPT service sector faces and the recommendations to organise and regularise the transport system in Indian cities.