BENGALURU: Bengaluru can go in for the Delhi model to curb private car use, but it needs to strengthen public transport first, experts believe.
The Kejriwal government in Delhi has just announced a rule to ply private cars with odd and even registration numbers on alternate days. This will bring down the private car use by half. Many experts say it is an initiative worthy of emulation, but will it work here?
Ravichandar V, urban expert, told Express the success of such a rule would depend on other government initiatives.
“We must first have a robust public transport system, which is not the case in Bengaluru. People may use duplicate number plates. Who is to check them?” he said.
He suggests even cab aggregators be classified under public transport. “Let the government increase the BMTC fleet. In essence, it needs to embrace the concept of public transport and penalise private transport. That is the only way forward,” he said.
Earlier, traffic was dense only during peak hours. But now, roads are choked all the time, said Gautam Bharadwaj, a techie who travels from Basavangudi to Marathahalli every day. “What can be done if each family has three or four cars? The government must bring about some sort of control on the number of vehicles,” he said.
In his circles, a joke is doing the rounds: ‘To be successful in life, one has to cross many bridges, including the one in Marathahalli!’
Transport Commissioner Rame Gowda echoed Ravichandar’s opinion, and saw the possibility of the odd-even rule being implemented in Bengaluru in the near future. “We have had discussions with the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board. We will soon seek public opinion,” he said.
At the moment, the department is promoting initiatives like carpooling and public transport. “Once the public are comfortable with these, we can think of new rules,” he said.
The BMTC can increase its fleet by 3,000 buses, which will reduce congestion. The city currently has about 57 lakh vehicles, of which two-wheelers constitute 69 per cent. Also, vehicle numbers go up annually by nine per cent.
Additional Commissioner of Police Dr M A Saleem said traffic might ease once Phase 1 of Namma Metro is completed, and BMTC introduces more buses with lower fares.
The Delhi odd-even rule is feasible, but cannot be initiated if public transport is not strengthened, he said.