Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

Congestion charge could be a reality soon in Bengaluru

Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya said it’s a method the government has thought up to fund its guarantee schemes, and a public discussion should be held before taking any decision.

BENGALURU: Mobility experts have come up with the idea of imposing a ‘congestion charge’ on vehicles as an ideal solution to address Bengaluru’s perennial issue of traffic jams and slow vehicular movement. The charges levied should be used to provide and improve existing public transport, they add.  
Bengaluru’s traffic snarls have caught international attention, especially last week’s gridlock for an hour and a half on Outer Ring Road (ORR), which also gave sufficient comedy content to noted standup comedian Trevor Noah. 

Prof Ashish Verma, convener of the Sustainable Transportation Lab at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) said: “The traffic gridlock on ORR last week reflects a mix of issues -- a wide gap between travel demand, available infrastructure and service supply, non-uniform road geometry, unscientific traffic management and predominance of car and two-wheeler users.”

Verma had submitted the report ‘Agile & Sustainable Mobility for All’ under the ‘mobility vertical’ of the ‘Brand Bengaluru’ campaign, recommending ‘congestion pricing’ on road users travelling during congested hours or to congested areas.

“Discouraging the use of personal vehicles and parallelly improving infrastructure and services has to be done as an integrated strategy to achieve sustainable mobility solutions. Congestion charge is an important strategy to discourage the use of personal vehicles,” Verma said. He added that this amount should be pumped back to improve infrastructure and services for sustainable modes. The charges should be implemented simultaneously while improving public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure.

Urban mobility expert Shreya Gadepalli says this is a win-win for all. “Those willing to pay get a traffic-free road to reach their destinations. Traffic-free roads also make way for swift bus services, giving those unwilling or unable to pay a reliable alternative,” she said.

“In London, the number of cars entering the congestion pricing zone dropped by 33 per cent and bus ridership went up by 38 per cent. Singapore managed to keep the average traffic speed on urban roads at 20-30 kmph,” she said, adding that it is high time Indian metros -- Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad -- implement congestion pricing.

Former bureaucrat K Jairaj said that given the traffic problems in Bengaluru, levying congestion charges might be inevitable. 

Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya said it’s a method the government has thought up to fund its guarantee schemes, and a public discussion should be held before taking any decision. 

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com