Commuting is probably one of the biggest challenged our city is faced with. The increased pressure on our roads, traffic and infrastructure compounds the problem further. Reducing air quality levels, tree felling and rampant construction has already taken a huge toll on our citizens.
A recent study by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a Delhi-based think tank, made an assessment of the 14 most populous cities of India based on toxic emissions of particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2), and energy consumption from urban commuting practices and Pune was predictably one of them.
The study reflected an 18.3 per cent high growth rate in vehicle registrations in Pune.
It concluded that since Pune was at an inflection point, “Their per trip emissions are in the middle of the spectrum and depending on what direction their mobility policies take over the next years and decades, their pollution levels may increase or decrease accordingly.
They need to take corrective measures now and avoid the fate of the megacities.” the study quoted.
Activists, social organisations and local media have been crying hoarse on the urgent need to energise the public transport system, yet, there is no visible change or attempt towards this on the ground.
Pune365 did report earlier on the importance on bringing in car pooling on a larger scale and the feedback has been pouring in.
“I feel that carpooling is important and to some extent it will positively reduce the number of vehicles on our roads and ease the current situation,” says Pranjali Deshpande, programme manager, Institute of Transport and Development Policy (ITDP).
Carpooling is definitely one solution, however it should also be enforced strictly, otherwise it will lose its purpose in the long run.
Though, even if the citizens adopt this measure, it has limited potential to reduce the congestion on roads in view of the limited seating capacity.”
“For a more long term solution, we should immediately procure more buses for the city. It will help reduce the number of vehicles on road.
For quick measures we could also look at the ‘odd-even’ policy, strict road directives to make driving on roads difficult, looking at parking, congestion or occupancy-based parking or going for different traffic reduction techniques.
“Moreover, the city should also be responsible enough to reduce the number of private vehicles, and then look for such effective measures.
Additionally, it is also time to look for modifications in certain regulations like section 66 (1) and section 192 (a) (that makes giving a lift illegal), keeping in mind the effective use of available resources and using private transport efficiently,” adds Deshpande.
Quite recently, a man from Mumbai was charged under Section 66(1) read with 192(a) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, for giving a lift (to those in need), as the law clearly prohibits the use of private vehicle for commercial use.
Although he intended to help these stranded commuters, he was penalised thanks to the draconian law.
“Everyday we see hundreds of people violating the traffic rule right in front of traffic policemen and volunteers who help in traffic management during the festivals, emergencies etc.
It is the lack of sensitivity and traffic sense among our citizens that leads to such behaviour in society,” says a “Traffic Police Mitra”
“Carpooling and such methods if encouraged, will bring a lot of relief to the traffic congestion. People can easily reach their common destinations and save on fuel costs as well as help reduce pollution. We often see some who opt for triple seat bike pooling too which of course is not recommended!
Sneha Acharaya, a computer science student prefers traveling the extra mile to pick up a friend and then bike pool to college.
“We thought of this idea the moment we joined in a college in Pune. It didn’t make sense to buy two-vehicles to travel to college. Hence, we often share the petrol money, I go to her place to pick her up which is a little over a kilometre and then travel to college together.
This is a very eco-friendly and pocket friendly way of commute. The easiest way to reduce air pollution is to discourage driving of private vehicles and limit the number of vehicles on the road,” Sneha opines.
#All views are those of the individual respondent’s and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
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