KOCHI: Traffic movement is likely to go haywire after the lockdown period as the public prefer private vehicles to commute in the city. The fear of contracting Covid-19 and the government’s plan to double the fare in public transport vehicles are forcing people to use their own vehicle for commuting after the lockdown period.“As per the studies, one out of three persons in the city has a vehicle. When the lockdown is over, all of them will start to use private vehicles in the city.
Public transport will be rarely used after lockdown. Since we don’t have wider road networks, traffic congestion will be a key issue. The law and order officers will have to spend a major chunk of their time to manage traffic movement in the city,” said Dhanuraj, chairman, Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), a city-based think tank.
He said the government’s move to double the charges in the public transport buses after the lockdown period will adversely affect the public. “By doubling the charge, the government is putting a burden on the public. The taxes imposed on stage carriages have to be removed instead of increasing the fare. If they fail to do so, the public will use their own vehicles to commute in the city. It will increase the number of vehicles on the roads,” added Dhanuraj.The Private Bus Operators Association (PBOA) also fears that the number of passengers in the private buses will come down after the lockdown.
“On a daily average, nearly 1,141 private buses are conducting services in the city and each one carries an average of 650 passengers. But this will witness a heavy fall as people prefer a motorcycle or car to commute in the city. The government should exempt private buses from paying taxes for several months. Otherwise, we will be in trouble,” said P B Sathyan, PBOA state president. Meanwhile, anticipating the heavy traffic the City police are planning to prepare an action plan to control traffic movement through city roads.
“Traffic will be another issue once the present situation goes back to normal. Since many of them are worried about the virus they will try to use private vehicles. The school re-opening, rain, narrow roads and construction work are also other concerns. We are working on a plan to control heavy traffic movement after the lockdown period,” said G Poonguzhali, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order).