Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Mass Public Transportation System... no way without it

There have been a few comments that have been posted on my last couple of articles on How do we ease traffic ? and Why do we have clogged up roads ?. My line of thought for solving this problem of high density of traffic and low density of roads that our city has is that we need to have a good public transportation system that consists of not one but a whole array of existing and new transportation systems that work in a well coordinated and synchronized manner instead of trying to compete with each other.

I admit we have got ourselves into a mess in terms of bad city planning, lack of regard for zoning laws, frivolous FSI, rampant bribery in the roads and buildings divisions and arbitrary decisions being made trying to solve the problems that exist. Due to all these things we have a transportation issue on our hands which would not have existed (hopefully) if all the above had not taken place.

What I am stating is that we are only making a bigger mess by taking short term decisions by widening roads and building flyovers. We are doing the same mistakes that the west made in building a large network of roads and playing into the hands of the car manufacturers and oil companies. This is not the way forward because in a couple of years that road and the flyover that got built at the cost of thousands of crores of rupees is clogged again.

Instead of spending crores of rupees in building new roads and flyovers build a network of transportation systems which work together. Let me try and put such a hypothetical system in place. Let's say the existing MMTS system is the heart of the transportation system. From some of these MMTS stations there should be a skybus/Metro/any other Mass Rapid system that runs in an arterial manner outwards to the MMTS line. Let us call this the arterial system. From the stations of the arterial System there should be busses, autos, cycle rickshaws, tongas, and what ever else. The timings of the trains of the MMTS and the arterial system should be coordinated in such a manner that would allow a person to move from one system to another with a minimal waste of time. The ticketing system should be common so that once a ticket is bought it is applicable throughout the journey irrespective of the system used. Its only when we have something like this will the congestion on the roads decrease as people would be looking at this as an alternative safe and quick way of traveling.

Yes it is going to cost... but so is laying new roads, widening existing roads and building flyovers. There are talks of laying a new road parallel to the Begumpet road - instead of laying a new road why cant we put in place a mass transporatation system and tell the people to use it. It might cost more but it can be expanded to carry millions of people instead of being clogged by cars in a couple of years with one person sitting in each car.

I am not trying to advocate a costly Metro system - I am only saying we need a mass rapid transportation system that is well connected and user friendly. This system has to be a combination of transportation systems that work together in an efficient manner. And according to me there is no way around this.

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