Here is why Mumbai needs more buses than cars

In Mumbai, cars and bikes constitute 86% or 17.45 lakh vehicles but carry just 13% of the load while 40,600 buses account for 26% of the trips, reveals a report by a High Powered Committee. This highlights the need for more public transport, especially buses in the city

The High Power Committee (HPC) formed under the chairmanship of Dr Amitabh Rajan, additional chief secretary of home department says while two-wheelers and four-wheelers have a vehicle share of about 86% (about 17.45 lakh), they carry only 13% of the total trips across Mumbai. At the same time, just 40,600 buses account for 26% of the modal share of trips in the city. This shows the dire need to have a sophisticated bus system in the city that can reduce the number of cars from the congested roads.

 

Mumbai, the home to over 1.30 crore people, faces severe crunch of public transport facilities. While the suburban railway network carries over 75 lakh commuters every day, there still is a need for more buses, says the report of the Committee set up by home ministry following directions from the Bombay High Court.

 

According to the report, Mumbai continues to have high usage of public transport, courtesy the local rail network. As per the modal share of trips, excluding walking trips, local trains account for 52%, buses account for 26%, auto-rickshaws account for 7%, taxis account for 2%, two-wheelers account for 8% and only 5% of the modal share is by cars.

 

“Relatively sharp increase in car modal share in the last decade has pushed Mumbai into a situation of a grid-lock,” the report says.
 


As of March 2012, there were 20.3 lakh vehicles registered in Mumbai. Two-wheelers accounted for 55.7%, four-wheelers accounted for 30.6%, auto rickshaws accounted for 5.5%, buses accounted for 0.5%, trucks, lorries and delivery vans accounted for 3.9% and other vehicles accounted for 3.8%.
 


According the Committee, the rapid growth in motorisation is the main reason for traffic congestion in the city, while the number of vehicles is growing; the road network has not changed much in past four-decades.

 

On an average 450 new vehicles are being added to the road network each day. As the number of vehicles increase day by day (with the growth in the last decade alone being 88%), the travel times have also increased.  In addition, more than one lakh vehicles per day enter or leave Mumbai area adding more load to an already strained system, the report says.

 

"This rapid growth in motorisation is surprising despite problems of traffic and parking and can be explained by the income growth of a highly aspirational population coupled with the extreme saturation in public transport. Regulatory policy needs to be in place to curtail congestion,” the Committee said.

 

The Committee has suggested several corrective and remedial measures for ensuring smooth and disciplined vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

 

According to the Committee, lack of equipment and manpower for enforcement, extreme growth in population and vehicles, lack of proper signage and markings, on-going construction works, parking  related issues, need for policy level changes coupled with infrastructure issues and operational difficulties have impacted traffic congestion directly and indirectly.

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COMMENTS

hasmukh

6 years ago

Road transport in Mumbai: Yours was a very good Article with excellent analysis. It is shocking to know that buses (BEST) constitute just Half percent of total vehicles to cater to the vast population (which includes many senior citizens), who have to depend on public transport.
Population of Mumbai has increased manifold in last few years, but surprisingly, no. of buses has reduced ! Road are majorly occupied by cars/bikes leading to heavy congestion, which retards movement of buses. A bus making about 15 round trips in a day earlier could now be making only 4/5 round trips. In this scenario, public transport is bound to run into losses, and the commuters are penalised for this with higher fares and long waiting for buses.
Solution appears to be (i) restricting heavily the movement of cars/bikes in the city(ii) giving preference to buses, to enable to move faster & undertake more trips and (iii) State Govt. must provide heavy subsidies and concessions to PUBLIC transport.
Hope, the high powered committee takes note of this while finalizing its report.

Sujit patwardhan

6 years ago

The findings that "major cause of congestion is abnormal growth in number of cars" and also the fact that "40,000 buses carry 26% of commuters while 17.5% of cars carry only 13%" is perhaps not new but we are not doing the obvious - facilitating movement of buses while simultaneously discouraging use of cars (through numerous available options). Sea link Road, proposed Coastal Expressway, subsidised parking and other direct/indirect subsidies to car use continue. Unless this stops no amount of committees making statements will change the traffic mess we are in.

Bhupesh

6 years ago

JNNRUM fund sanction should link to spending and improvement in planning and enforcement activities of the city.



Implement penalty points and graded punishment to reduce traffic violations in two years, says HPC

For better enforcement of traffic violations, the High Powered Committee has given the Transport Department and Transport Commissioner two years’ time to implement and enforce the suggestions given by it as well as the Sundar Committee Report

A High Powered Committee (HPC) set up by the home ministry following directions from the Bombay High Court has suggested a system of penalty points and graded punishment to ensure minimum traffic violations.  The Department of Transport and the Transport Commissioner have been assigned to ensure that all the recommendations by the HPC are implemented within two years.
 

The National Informatics Center is reportedly considering these viewpoints as well as the points raised by the Sundar Committee report. The Sundar Committee report had made several suggestions, most notably creation of dedicated highway police as well as formation of committees and advisories as well as autonomy to states to their own traffic management boards and such. It is also being suggested that road space be optimized to ensure steady traffic flow, as lack of space is one of the biggest constraints of Mumbai and have made life difficult.
 

Encroachment is another aspect that is being looked at very seriously and the police have already taken some action. The report noted, “Encroachment of pavements and carriageways by people and vehicles in Mumbai is one of the biggest concerns and has adversely impacted traffic conditions to a great extent.” According to the committee report, the encroachment on 20 roads has been removed in first phase, while 125 roads are taken up in Phase-II.
 

Illegal parking is another annoying thing that takes up road space. Often, you would see bikes parked outside restaurants undertaking home delivery, even though the space does not belong to them. The HPC noted in its report, “Additionally due to lack of effective parking policy and enforcement, it gives the citizens a feeling that parking is virtually free on the roads during the day and night.”
 

Besides enforcement of rules, there were other considerations such as public space, public transportation (including Mumbai rail network and BEST bus system) and so on which do not fall within the police jurisdiction. Therefore, the HPC was created to ensure stakeholders collaborate and work together.
 

While it is not known in what exact form penalty points and gradation of punishment will look like, it will hopefully lead to less traffic problems due to more clarity, because at the moment, there is no clear system of punishment for violations.
 

Earlier, a public interest litigation was initiated by the Bombay Bar Association against the State of Maharashtra & others to improve the traffic situation in and around Mumbai to make life for her citizens easier since the matter was too complex to be handled by the police force alone. Over the past few years, Mumbai’s public infrastructure, most notably roads and commute has gone from bad to worse. Increases in bus fares have already taken a toll on the marginal fringe workers.

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COMMENTS

Sachin Purohit

6 years ago

Roadside encroachment is not restricted to just hawkers, illegal parking, etc. Even more serious form of encroachment is roadside temples where there should have been a footpath. There probably are more roadside temples than traffic cops. And then there are pandals erected blocking entire roads not just during Ganesh Chaturthi and Navratri but also for some residential complex's private celebration. Not sure how they get permissions for blocking the traffic.

HPC wants e-challans for traffic violations

The High Powered Committee appointed by the Bombay High Court has suggested that tools like breathalyzer, e-challan system, radio frequency identification device be explored and used for better traffic monitoring, enforcement and supervision

The High Powered Committee (HPC) appointed by the Bombay High Court has given the Maharashtra Home Department as well as Department of Transport, Transport Commissioner, CP Mumbai, Mumbai Traffic Police and National Informatics Center (NIC), one year to come up with better technology framework, including better implementation and use of CCTV footage, e-challan system for speedier payment of fines, etc, and use of radio frequency identification device (RFID) to monitor traffic. The HPC was appointed to look into ways of improving traffic in Mumbai. It has suggested that technology be leveraged to make supervision and enforcement easier and more effective.
 

India is known for its information technology prowess and large number of knowledge workers and engineers. However, these are not put into use in the domain of policing, traffic management and urban planning. In order to put our resources into use, the use of modern technology was mooted by the HPC.
 

One of the biggest hindrances is cash-payment system of fines which tends to be slow and creates unnecessary delays. To speed this up, the HPC suggested use of e-challans. The report said, “User friendly e-challaning system may be developed with integrated e-payment options to the citizens to settle the offences. Use of SMS gateways to alert and inform the concerned about challaning, settlement options and settlement details, etc, also needs to be integrated.” This is already under consideration by the Maharashtra government and the HPC has given it one year to come up with a suitable framework to implement.
 

Thus the onus is on technology to ease burden on manpower and expensive equipments. Lack of equipment and resources has made the job of the traffic police to predict and pre-empt bottlenecks caused by breakdowns, undesirable parking and impaired driving even more difficult, leading to extreme situations at times putting their lives at risk, the report said. To make their jobs easier, sophisticated tools are already under consideration and are in progress for implementation, which includes breathalyzer (which is currently already in enforcement in Chennai) to reduce instances of rash driving. The report said, “To enable traffic police to enforce traffic rules more effectively, a proposal to procure mobile wireless CCTV systems, breath-alcohol analyzer with GPS system, accident monitoring system, hydraulic cranes, portable electronic LED signage, helmets with communications sets, speed check guns, tint meters, barricades, vehicles, motors cycles, alcohol detectors, road safety cones, plastic barricades, LED batten, reflective jackets, etc is under process.”

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COMMENTS

ABHA CHAWLA MOHANTY

6 years ago

THE HONORABLE HIGH COURT IS NOW ENTRUSTED... WITH.......... A REGULATOR APPRAISAL ....,?

Sachin Purohit

6 years ago

Good to know someone really cares to come up with this kind of report. Roads have become very dangerous to drive on. Rash driving is a norm rather than an exception. No one really stops at red signals. A great number of junctions have signals that do not function or if they do, they are not timed optimally (either they stay red for too long so that the traffic piles up or they change immediately so that very few vehicles are able to pass). No Stop or Yield signs at intersections to highways, resulting in vehicles abruptly merging in, posted speed limits on highways are ridiculously low, making it impossible to follow them! I see a speed limit of 40 Kmph posted on Airoli bridge! Introducing tools like speed guns without modifying the speed limits would only give another tool to the traffic cops to harass otherwise defensive drivers. A lot needs to be done to make driving safe not only in Mumbai but all over India. This HPC is a welcome initiative.

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