Saturday, September 22, 2007

Public Transport System

The TATA has vowed to bring out a car that would cost only Rs.1 lakh/- as early as
possible(i am not familiar with the exact date). Is it a boon or a blessing? What I think is

The isntantaneous reaction of anyone after coming to know that a car can be bought for 1
lakh rupees would be this. " Oh my god, a car for just 1 lakh. Good bikes cost somewhere
around 40,000 and double that price and u get a car. Loans will be easily available anyway.
So buying a car wont be that difficult. I will go for it."

There is a burgeoning middle class in the country and this is the market that this intended
car would try to capture. And if this car looks ok n is also good on mileage, the higher
class wont mind going for it 2. This is all economics and economics is not what i want to
focus on here. Think of the environment. Think of the kind of traffic that is present on the
roads of major cities these days and think of the size of the roads. Think of the congestion
more cars will cause to these already "no place more" roads. If roads can cry, they are
already crying and we still wanna go and beat them. If this happens, it wont be the roads
that would cry anymore, it would be us.

I mean, does India need more cars on its already small roads. Now itself, there is the need
to make more use of Public Transport rather than individual transport. Why does one single
person drive to his office in a car, when he can easily squeeze into a small space in the
bus or a train or some other public transport? One less car on the road and a little less
congestion. Suppose 60 people stop driving their car to office and all get into a bus, 60
cars less on the road. How much congestion would that release? And this is not that
hypothetical. It can be done.

What about the difference in the pollution that 60 cars would cause to the level of
pollution a single heavy vehicle would? What about the amount of fossil fuel that would
saved from being burnt? Yeah, a public vehicle would not drop us right at the work place, it
would not save us time and it is so horrible to travel in buses or trains etc. But the thing
is we complain too much. A lot of people are least bothered about the environment around and
see the future as their bank balances or share holding values, while the actual feature that
needs to be thought about is the environment around. India is rated at number 104 in a
recent survey conducted on living conditions(includes GDP,environment care,pollution levels,
quality of live etc).

Crude Oil prices have touched 84$ a barrel(at the time of writing this one). And we still
want to import more and more oil. We keep importing. It hurts the economy to import so much
oil and I dont know how much more it hurts because of the subsidy policy the government
This is because the crude oil rates have kept rising higher and higher and here the price of
diesel,petrol n related commodities has been kept constant. We protest vehemently if prices
are increased. We dont actually see how much can be saved if we use public transport instead
of private. Instead we tend to use our vehicles even to travel half a kilometer. I heard
that people in China are made to ride bicycles to workplaces if their workplaces are less
than 5kms from their homes. This might be a rumour, but 2kms might be reasonable. Cycling
2kms everyday,a very good exercise for the calorie and fat conscious modern generation.

All of this said, I must also mention that the public transport system that exists now in a
lot of places is not at all upto the standard. I dont think any government has an agenda on
making people use mass transport systems more by spelling out the troubles and perils of
mass use of individual modes of transport. If such an agenda is put forth and pursued,
results will be there to see. But we the people have got so used to the concept of
luxury(people who have money) wont be able to digest it. Traveling in buses n trains is a
prestige issue to lot of people and it will be. Coming to ground zero is the need of the
hour. After all....its like this...a single bike projects a certain kind of status symbol, a
small car a little more, a bigger car even more, 2 cars, 3 cars and so on. And now I doubt
if what all I have written is possible at all? Well, make me the CM of AP or PM of India. U
will find out.