Gustavo Perto rightly said, “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transport.”
If you take a look, you’ll see that the average number of cars parked outside multi-storey houses in Delhi is not less than three. And then, we hear people cribbing over reasons like, “It takes too long to reach. Delhi traffic sucks!”.
From being the reason behind getting late to reach your destination, fatal road accidents to being accountable for cause of stress among majority of the population, traffic is no less than an epidemic which needs to be desperately dealt with.
Where Traffic Has Slowed Down Life
Research by road design experts and engineers suggests a drastic increase in the duration of time spent by Delhiites on the roads of the uber busy capital. There has been a 50 percent decrease in the speed of vehicles in the traffic over the past 5 years. Calculations further validate the alarming traffic conditions.
On an average, a person travelling a distance of 40 km by a private vehicle ends up wasting 3.43 hours on the road today, in contrast to 1.3 hours in the year 2010. Also, the average travel speed has also slowed down immensely from 42 kmph to 20 kmph (between 5pm to 7pm, which are the peak traffic hours in Delhi).
Another form of research indicates that the average speed of Delhi will crawl down to 5 kmph in the next 10 years if the startling traffic rates persist. Strangely, 5 kmph is the walking speed of an average human.
Public Transport Days: A Viable Alternate
The need of the hour has moved way beyond encouragement to use Public Transport, what we must rather order is the exercise of dedicating few days in a month as ‘Public Transport Days’. The main means of transport which could be used during these days could be buses, pool-in taxis and metros. Since its scorching hot in the country, the possibility to use cycle as a mode of commuting gets negated itself.
Foreign Countries: A Paradigm to Learn From
United Kingdom has cities such as Hove which have developed a ‘Talking Bus Stop’ system for helping visually impaired people to access public transport. The fact that 33 percent of the total population in India suffers from visual impairment, which is an approximate of 12 million against 39 million globally, initiatives such as that of Talking Bus Stops coupled with the concept of Public Transport Days become highly imperative.
Other than this, cities like Cairo in Egypt offer metro services at a lower cost as compared to India. While the Indian Metro ticket cost ranges between $0.12 – $0.46, the metro ticket cost in Cairo is no more than $0.06.
Also, America comes in as a stupendous inspiration the number of trips taken by Americans in the year 2013, was an impressive figure of 10.7 billion.
A Past That Went Wrong
It was in the month of April, 2010 when the State Transport Authority (STA) of Nagpur asked people to observe Public Transport Day on a particular weekend. But it was the tremendous and insensitive lack of awareness which resulted in poor response on almost all the routes and roads.
I feel perhaps, the requirement lies in observing such days on National Levels rather than State Levels. Further, it is essential for the idea to be publicised, promoted and properly implemented. If the public transport network is not simultaneously boosted, there can be severe consequences.
Also, the vision of Public Transport Day needs to accepted by the rich and renowned people of the country for it to be extensively adopted by the masses.
(The writer is currently pursuing a course in Broadcast Journalism and can be reached @SharmaNaina222. This is a personal blog and the views expressed above are the author’s own.The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)