Curse of Immobilitycan we ward it off?
It is obvious that all our cities are in a pretty critical shape. And conventional bus or
rail systems are clearly not strong enough to ward off the crisis. The transport demand is
too highpassenger load too gigantic. Also, the government agencies that handle urban
transport now are hardly in a shape to take up the challenge.
Towards Mass Transit Systems
cannot afford to experiment anymore.
So where do we go from here? Experts recommend Mass Rapid Transport Systems (MRTs). These
are specifically designed to carry a large number of passengers rapidly at one time. They
come in various shapesmetro, sky bus system, mono rail and also bus based rapid
transit systems. They operate on fixed tracks, exclusively made for them and ply on fixed
routes or lines.
A combo of old and new
The problem is that our cities have started too late. MRT options should have been planned
when their sizes were smaller and when they had less people to cater to. Again, lets take
our capital as an example. Delhi authorities have been pondering over the concepts of MRTs
for decades. Then after the city grew impossibly big and its population crossed the 14
million mark it began to experiment with the metro. In the rest of India, barring a few
cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, MRTs have remained non-starters.
We cannot afford to experiment anymore. Because the costs are too highboth in
terms of money and effort. The metro rail, for instance, needs huge investments and a
great deal of time to start operating. If it fails to deliver the goods, that is,
transport large volumes of passengerscomfortably and at an affordable pricethe
people will simply not use it. And the blow will be crippling
Kolkatas twin wonders
A true blue Kolkatan still swears by the traditional tramway, set up way back
in 1873. . But can he still rely on its services? Not really. As nothing has been done to
upgrade the system, these electrically operated cars remain grindingly slow and are prone
to frequent breakdowns.
Again Kolkata was Indias first city to offer an
underground metro that took 24 years to build. While, the city authorities won many kudos
for it, the system has actually failed to deliver the goods. A rail system that was
designed to carry over 17 lakhs passengers hardly ferries a meagre 3 lakhs today.
So experts say that cities should integrate the rail and the bus transit systems. And
make sure that they blend in smoothly. The scenario will be something like this: suburban
rail networks, or metros would be supplemented by fast moving feeder bus systems. Their
tracks and routes would be coordinated in such a way that a regular passenger would not
have to cross several busy streets to catch the connecting bus once he gets off a train.
His journey from home to the workplace and back again, would be a seamless interchange
between buses and trains.
Only then can the government hope to combat the onslaught of private automobiles
there is more! Indian citizens will be trulymobile only when they
sort out their road space. That isthey ensure that every form of transportfrom
personal vehicles to bicycles and pedestrian wayshas the freedom to move safely on
Too perfect to be real..did you say? Not really. We just need to relearn the rules of
the road. In the rush to get moving we seem have forgotten them.