Why do we have clogged up roads ?
As a follow up to my last article on how road widening and building bridges are very short term solution I would like to answer some interesting thoughts that an anonomous comment has raised.
The first fact that was raised is "Each year, Hyderabad city is adding about 2 lakh vehicles." - well you can't dispute fact. But lets ask ourselves why are there so many vehicles being added
And then the comment goes on to list as to why is there such an increase in vehicles and that is -
- "This increase is not merely because there is no public transportation system. It is to a significant extent because of credit markets."
- "Hyderabad is being redesigned for the enjoyment and profiteering of some 1 per cent or less of the urban population. And nobody objects to this because most people imagine that they will somehow be within that one per cent if not today, well then very soon, they think they will get there. "
We have moved along from a socialist economy of the 60's to a capatalist economy of the new millenium. In a captalist economy most things sell merely to fill a need and without going too much into Maslow's Theory of Needs I feel that vehicles on the streets of Hyderabad are also there to fill that need. And most of the time the need for transport is a physical need which is the most basic need.
Let me put a question to you - Let's say you have a family of a husband, wife and 2 school going kids and you have to all travel to different parts of town what would be the mode of transport would you have all used in the current situation. Would it have been some public transport or private transport ? I think the answer to this is pretty obvious given the choices that we have in the city today.
The problem that we have is the lack of a credible, trustworthy, quick means of public transport and without that there is no choice but to use private transport. Are people buying vehicles because there are easy avenues to get money - I truly doubt it. If you ask anyone who drives in Hyderabad they will tell you "Driving in Hyderabad is a nightmare and if you can drive in Hyderabad you can drive anywhere in the world". According to me the reason people buy a vehicle is to get around easily - to meet the basic need of transportation. If a public transportation system can meet that need you will automatically see a reduction in the number of vehicles on the roads.
Let us take for example Mumbai, what would have happened if there was no suburban rail system there ? No one would have lived in the suburbs, they would have all lived in the city close to their work place. They would have all had vehicles if they could afford it or if they could buy it on credit. Wouldn't the city look awfully similar to Hyderabad ? The difference is there should be an alternative and right now there isn't one here in Hyderabad. The existing public transport limits itself to busses and MMTS which just does not meet the need.
The comment goes on to talk about the capital needed for a metro rail or a MMTS project. The answer to this is yes we do need large capital for such projects but we need to make the sacrifices to put in this capital. Other cities in India have successfully started implementing metro projects such as Delhi, Chennai and a lot before everyone else Kolkatta. I don't see people in any of these cities complaining. Is it used only by the top 1 % of the society - I really dont think so. Not with the rates of the Delhi Metro Rails as follows. Capital investment in large infrastructure projects is the only way problems as large as what we are facing today can be solved. Once we provide a viable alternative such as a metro rail system you can tax the private vehicle users you can increase tolls for parking and using the city's roads and bridges, but until you provide a viable alternative there is nothing you can do.
The world over a good public transport has worked in almost every metro why shouldn't it work here?