Trailer of good things to come

Published : Times of India

The Metro Rail is the most efficient form of transportation.Praveen Sood,Addl Director General of Police (Police Computer Wing) and Commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety,spells out what it entails for the city

The Metro Rail is one of the effective mass public transportation systems,and therefore one of the most effective solutions to traffic congestion.Any public transportation system is a better solution than endless creation of infrastructure.Increasing supply (of infrastructure) without controlling demand (for private transport) is no solution.There is no doubt the Metro will attract huge passenger traffic.There is not even an iota of doubt about its ridership.The bigger question is who will constitute this ridership.
I heard people saying “we should popularise the Metro so the pressure on buses can reduce.Also,those buses should be phased out so that the roads can be decongested”.If it actually happens,it will be suicidal for traffic.We don’t want the bus ridership to shift to the Metro.If it happens,one public transport will phase out another public transport,and that will be the ultimate failure of the objective.
The objective of the Metro is to take ridership primarily from private transport – two wheelers and four wheelers.If buses are phased out from the roads,the space thus created will in no time be filled by more cars and two wheelers.The bus transport system needs no phasing out but reorientation to cater to the Metro,as is envisaged by induction of feeder buses that cater more effectively to routes not connected by the Metro.Another word of caution,the Metro should not be christened a poor man’s transport.It’s success lies in transporting bus and car passengers together.
Of course,the Metro is going to be more efficient for people than any other form of transportation.No signals,no pollution,air conditioned environment,more reliable (timings),faster and more user-friendly and even touristfriendly.No doubt people will naturally be attracted to use the Metro.
In the short term,the Metro is more of a trailer of the good things to come.We should not expect it to really ease the congestion till the whole network,end to end – Byappanahalli to Mysore Road and Peenya to Banashankari,are operational.This will only happen when the underground portion is ready and passengers can travel a long distance in the shortest possible time.The ridership improves automatically with every kilometer added to the network.
Hence,extensive traffic decongestion can only be expected in the year 2013 when Phase-I is fully operational.Till then,this 6.5 km reach will promote the concept of the Metro which will in due course of time help in melting away the resistance faced in the initial years.
The Metro is also synonymous with increasing commercial activity and value of property in its vicinity.The first 6.5 km will help in promoting these facts.In the beginning,it may actually lead to deleterious effect on traffic congestion because the ridership that it will attract will be of tourists in nature rather than out of necessity.Coupled with the fact that the infrastructure below and around the Metro leaves much to be desired with reduced carriageways and not-so-good facilities for pedestrians to cross,it may actually lead to traffic snarls in the short term.However,every project has to go through this process of evaluation.Namma Metro is no exception.
In addition,the Metro is expected to usher in a new era of civic responsibility by proper upkeep of the stations and trains.We can expect responsible behavior from citizens in the Metro premises which may in due course percolate to the city in general.Hence,the Metro may actually trigger a transformation of our not-so-good civic sense at present.
The success of the Metro in alleviating traffic snarls is linked to it and BMTC working in synergy rather than competing with each other.Both should complement each other and compete together with private transport and its ridership.This is the recipe for a win-win solution for all.

Author: Praveen Sood 

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