BENGALURU: With over 73 lakh vehicles already on the city roads and the traffic police department grappling with acute staff shortage, Bengaluru is inching towards a parking disaster. At least 1,000 new vehicles are getting added daily to the burgeoning vehicle population, reveals data from the Regional Transport Office (RTO). Of the total number of vehicles, there are over 55 lakh two-wheelers, which according to motorists help them find their way through the choking city traffic.
While the number of vehicles is on the rise, lack of parking space has triggered rampant violation of the no-parking rules of late. People gravitate to parking closer to their destinations than the legally available spots. Owners of multiple vehicles too end up parking their vehicles outside residential complexes, thus narrowing the already narrow roads of the city.
“Owning multiple vehicles is a trend these days. Unavailability of designated parking slots for multiple vehicles and illegal parking on roads have led to congestion on roads,” said traffic expert MN Sreehari.
“Finding parking is a major problem. Since we are not allowed to stop anywhere other than the authorized parking lots, we often go about in circles while waiting for our customers,” said Shivakumar S, an OLA cab driver.
Ignorance has only compounded the problems. Most motorists are not aware of the designated parking spaces.“Lack of awareness is the main reason why we see bikes and cars parked anywhere and everywhere on Bengaluru roads. People prefer to park on roads than pay for parking at commercial buildings,” said Saad Ahmed, a businessman.
“Another reason for haphazard parking is the distance between their destination and the parking lots. Many people have been booked, but yet motorists seem ignorant,” added a traffic inspector on the condition of anonymity.
Existing lots cry for attention
The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) owns nine multi-storey parking lots, while the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) owns two spaces--one on JC Road and one in KR Market. People, however, shy away from parking their vehicles at these designated places due to security and safety issues. “Full utilization of these 11 parking lots will ease the parking issues in the city, as the occupancy at these parking spaces is just 20-30 per cent,” said a senior traffic police official.
Smart project in the pipeline
As part of Bengaluru’s ‘Smart City’ project, an efficient parking system is being planned by the civic body. Once the system is in place, sensors will then feed real-time data on availability of parking slots in an area.