Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day Post - Convert Public Transport to CNG in Bangalore

Bangalore has been grappling with the issue of mismanagement of vehicular traffic for a while now. And the administration is under great pressure to act on it and act fast. So in such a stressful situation, some of them come up with what they think is an Einstein-like solution – take the private vehicles off the road and lay more stress on use of public transport (reported by the Hindu as discussed by a committee set up by the government to decide upon a strategy to deal with the issue of vehicular traffic and congestion).

The future Mensans don’t realize that they are completely overlooking a familiar territory called ‘Environment’ in the process. Stress on use of public transport?? How do they figure that will help? And this has more aspects to it than just environmental –

The public vehicle drivers in Bangalore are acknowledged to be rash drivers with an utter disregard for traffic rules. They skew the buses across the roads at traffic signals and they meander their auto-rickshaws completely oblivious to the fact that they are not the only ones on the road. The problem of vehicular traffic arises because of such driving and not really due to the volume of vehicles themselves. So the status quo is going nowhere.

Secondly, most of the public vehicles run on diesel barring a few auto-rickshaws that use LPG as fuel. Now, diesel is vastly more polluting than petrol, as is common knowledge, and the vehicles are not regulated for emission norms either. The private vehicles that the administration is looking at taking off the roads are in fact compliant with either Bharat-II or Bharat-III emission norms, not to mention they are smaller in size than the ubiquitous buses. So both the congestion and pollution arguments are in favour of these private vehicles.

The more feasible solution would be to first convert all buses to CNG akin to Delhi and all the autorickshaws to LPG. It is only after this step is achieved that it would make sense to take private vehicles off the roads to ease traffic. Taking such a step now will only give the citizens more space to drive at the cost of their health/life and at the cost of the planet. Ignoring this fact will lead to unrevertable consequences.

The administration needs to realize that only changing the status quo through apparently revolutionary actions is not going to earn them brownie points. The change has to be progressive, not retrogressive. In a bid to outdo each other and create vote banks out of yet another paltry issue, they are going to trample upon the planet in their own way. Is anybody listening?

1 Thinkers Pondered:

Sowmya said...

VVVVeeeerrrryyyy TTTTrrrruuuueeee.... I am for public transport.... and u get the feel of being escorted everywhere... rather than having to drive on ur own.... no tension... No one can understand the damage vehicles can do better than a Bangalorean...