BENGALURU: A proposal to ban registration of all new vehicles for the next two years has received mixed reactions from the traffic experts and public. This is being considered by Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, who is also the Bengaluru Development Minister.Traffic expert Ashish Verma, associate professor, transport engineering laboratory, civil engineering department, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), said that though calling for a ban is a good idea, the plan won’t work unless worked out with various other combination of solutions.
“The number of private vehicles is increasing every year by at least 5 per cent, and this is a major source of traffic congestion. But this ban will work only if it is coupled with other steps,” Verma said.
He added that it will be hypocrisy on the government’s part if it continues its elevated corridor project where it is making roads for the use of more vehicles.
Stressing the fact that banning registrations might not be a necessary one, Ashwin Mahesh, civic expert said that for any policy like this one, the government has to think two steps further on how to make it work. “If this ban is implemented then the public will definitely react to the policy. The government should then be ready to handle the after-effects such as registrations done outside the city or state. This will just lead to faster urbanisation of the areas,” he explained.
Instead, there are many other options which could be worked out to ease traffic congestion. The government can think about the registration process, which exists in countries such as Shanghai, says Verma. “Registrations of vehicles could happen like it is done in Shanghai where the system for allocating number plates is through lottery. This system, however, has its glitches but has worked beautifully in helping the number of vehicles,” Verma said.
Srikanth H Malimath, a software engineer with HCL, said, “It is difficult if the registrations of new vehicles is banned. It is easy to put this ban but what are the options the government is giving us? That needs to be worked on first before banning new vehicles.”
Dealing with city’s chronic nightmare: Traffic
Even as people grapple with never-ending traffic jams, there are new proposals being mulled by the government. Two experts, Professor Ashish Verma and Ashwin Mahesh, speak to TNIE on best possible solutions to handle city’s traffic woes.
FOCUS ON EXTENDING METRO
Instead of marketing bad solutions like elevated corridors and pod taxis as wonderful systems, the government should extend Metro rail network. For a city like this, there has to be 200 to 250km of Metro but we don’t have that. Cities like London and Paris have this with almost the same kind of population. Also, the mindset seems to be that “we will provide you a world-class facility. But once you step out of your station, how you manage to get to your destination is your headache”. This needs to change.
PROVIDE E-RICKSHAW SERVICES
If you get a system in place, you can run autorickshaws as feeder systems of shared basis a an affordable price. E-rickshaws will provide excellent door-to-door service. Instead of complaining about more cars, if you provide quality ridership options that are more attractive, people will definite shift.
Make way for pedestrians
Footpath infrastructure is terrible. One can learn from cities like Zurich. The trams in Zurich are an example of public transport providing almost end-to-end connectivity. We need to demand such facilities. Connect every 60 feet road to another making it easy for people to walk. Have separate cycling tracks and encourage cycling.
SHOULD INVEST IN ITS CITY’S BUSES
For a population of one crore, we have 6,500 buses. There should be 120 buses for one lakh people. So the total fleet should be 14,000. Moreover, public buses in American countries reach places that aren’t covered by their rail system. It should think of fare scheme like Hopper, which allows passengers to get on another bus for free within an hour after the beginning of their first ride.
GESTION TAX is the key
Private vehicles should be discouraged by high parking fees and a congestion tax. While cities world over have made parking prohibitively expensive to discourage car use, it remains low or free in Bengaluru. Another significant move, but a political hot potato, is the introduction of a congestion tax, which seeks to discourage private vehicles from entering popular routes. This will also generate revenue worth hundreds of millions of rupees.