Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Traffic Problems and Solutions

Traffic Problems and Solutions

Phenomenal rise in private vehicles has resulted in
traffic congestion.Due to an acute shortage of buses
(especially during peak hours),commuters tend to buy
two wheelers or cars as soon as they can afford to own
one. Until 1980 it was normal for most middle class
people to travel by buses.

Nationalisation of buses in 60s resulted in creation
of goverment monopoly and corruption in this sector.
Mis-management, pilferage and lack of transparency and
accountability of government bus transport
corporations resulted in huge losses and acute
shortage in bus services to meet the growing demand.

The argument against privatisation that the private
operators will not service remote and loss making
routes has yet to be proved. Government MTC services
in loss making areas are curtailed. For example
many routes in Nanganallur, Chennai has been
withdrawn citing lack of patronage.

The existing private bus routes are now sold in black
market for crores of rupees. Yet private buses are
better maintained and profitable. There is a vested
interest lobby of existing private bus owners (permit
holders),bureaucrats,politicians and trade unions of
govt corporations who oppose deregulation and
privatization of bus transports. Even mini-buses are
not allowed to expand service areas. Share autos are
opposed by regular auto drivers union.

If, instead of nationalization of buses, free
competition and low taxes were encouraged since
independence, then there would have been an excellent
and efficient public transport system. The culture of
owning private vehicles for commuting would not have
grown this much. A single bus can carry upto 60
commuters while lack of bus forces these 60 commuters
to own and travel by two-wheelers, there
by shrinking road space and increasing pollution.

Private bus stands and parking lots (bus stops along
main roads and highways) can be permitted and
encouraged. Two wheeler taxis can be allowed in
suburbs and remote areas.

Decentralisation and delicensing of transport sector
will result in better services and reduce traffic