BENGALURU: Traffic woes of a city like Bengaluru cannot be resolved without serious investment and focus on public transport mechanisms in the city.
Several steps can be proposed to overcome the problems faced due to the issue. Scaling up number of buses operated by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) from 6,500 to 10,000,
formalising and regulating maxi-cab aggregators for the flexibility offered by them, launching commuter rail facilities using the assets available with the government, expediting Metro works in the city, are among the measures.
Authorities should introduce bus priority lanes in major roads of the city during peak hours. If the lanes are introduced, buses will have to stick to the left side of a road, which will avoid traffic jams caused by haphazard movements of BMTC buses. It will also contribute immensely to the orderly movement of traffic in major roads of the city.
The government should also consider launching bus rapid transport in Outer Ring Road.
Maxi-cab aggregators are currently banned as they are not allowed to operate as per Stage Carriage Act. Continuing with the ban is a shortsighted way of looking at the transport option. It should be formalised or regularised, as such aggregators provide flexible routes and timings. BMTC can also outsource part of its fleet to such aggregators.
Carpooling, an effective mechanism to reduce traffic congestion is yet to pick up pace in the city.
Implementing the odd-even rule can be one of the ways which might drive more people towards the scheme. Once general public transport is in place, the government can consider levying congestion pricing in the Central Business District. It would help in the smooth movement of traffic.
The only way the problem can be tackled effectively is if the government makes it clear that their focus is on public transport.
(V Ravichander is an expert in urban planning. As told to Akram Mohammed)