rapid transport, By Sibichen K Mathew
Any one who makes a visit to Bangalore after a gap of about ten years will be visibly shocked to see a total change. Their beautiful city has been almost submerged in traffic and traffic jams. One can see hundreds of passengers sitting disgusted in their vehicles which move like snails. Almost equal number of pedestrians helplessly waits for long on both sides to cross the roads. Only one group seems to be happy with the plight of Bangalore. They are the hundreds of beggars, hawkers and eunuchs who throng the signal points to crave for a living. The longer the red light, wider their smiles.
Someone, seeing the way vehicles outnumber the road capacity has rightly commented that the world will end with a major traffic jam. One would definitely feel the same while stuck in long traffic jams in Bangalore city. Many of us think wildly for a possible solution to this traffic menace. Following are some of my quick thoughts.
Do not give any fresh permission to set up any business establishments in the city limits other than those dealing with the consumers directly for essential goods and services
Levy a city traffic tax at proportionately progressive rates depending on the road space each vehicle takes.
Parking Fee should be hiked in all important roads and near markets in order to encourage travel through mass transports
Like in many other countries, students should be allowed to take admissions only in neighborhood schools. Those who cannot comply with the rule should join only as a hostler.
Major companies and government departments (especially those in rented premises) should move from the city limits and residential accommodation should be provided to the employees near the premises
All companies and government departments should hire buses for transport of employees
Bus Rapid Transit System tried in New Delhi and several countries cannot be implemented in Bangalore as most of the roads are not broad enough. However Auto and two wheeler lanes can ease out traffic congestion
Car pooling is not found to be successful in many cities. Instead of that, permits may be given to mini buses and SUVs to provide shuttle services connecting important places. This will reduce the congestion created by three wheelers, as 90% of autos ply with just one passenger and people are reluctant to share auto with strangers.
Roads to and near major markets should be closed for private traffic. Minibuses should be made available for conveyance in these locations
As there are rules governing provision of compulsory parking space for shopping complexes etc, there should be a rule directing all establishments to compulsorily provide mass transport to their employees. Rules also should be made, requiring the establishments to provide accommodation near to the offices. This will force many establishments to shift the premises to outskirts where the lands are cheaper. Almost 40% of employees in the software/BPO sector are singles. But many stay very far away and commute several kilometers by road. Those companies should be encouraged to provide hostel accommodation within the campus.
There should be concessions in sales tax if purchases are made online. This will encourage people to order the consumer goods online, rather than commuting to the shops.
All educational institutions should be asked to provide bus services for students and government should grant concessions on the taxes on fuel
Having two airports, one for short-distance flights and the other for long duration flights will be a sensible option to prevent traffic congestion
Deploy trained personnel (appointed on contract) to regulate traffic in all arterial road junctions. This can also be done by unemployed youth or students on part-time basis
Police and the transport department should have continuous discussions with the representatives from citizens to get regular feedback on the traffic management.
A competent organization should be entrusted with the work of studying the traffic congestion in the city and to provide with long term solutions. The team should comprise of technically competent persons and not just management consultants and policy specialists.
Traffic jam, though creates a lot of annoyance, give some relieving time too. Many tune to FM for the music numbers sandwiched with the hilarious comments of the jockeys. Some glue to the laptops and compensate their office load. A few connect to the virtual world through the wireless. And most keep in touch with their dear and near through their cell phones. There are people who have the unique ability to plunge into deep slumber till they reach the destination (of course, not those who are at the steering). Believe! Even this article is written during a busy evening journey from the office to the home situated just about 10 kms away. Hence the title: ‘Red Light Musings’.
Musings for a responsible society
Amidst the dark and grey shades increasingly engulfing, invading and piercing deeper and deeper, let me try to enjoy the little smiles, genuine greens, and the gentle breeze. Oh! Creator! If you don't exist, my life...in vain!
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