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Good public transport, still a distant dream

delhi Updated: May 16, 2011 00:49 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
Moushumi Das Gupta
Hindustan Times
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Despite the government's growing emphasis on strengthening public transport in the country, not much is happening on the ground.

According to a latest report of the road transport ministry, a total of 114.9 million motor vehicles were registered in 2009.

Of this, the share of two-wheelers, cars, jeeps and taxis was 97.7 million; the share of buses registered during this period was just 1.48 million.

The figures also reveal there has been just a minuscule increase in the number of buses registered since 2001 vis-à-vis cars, two-wheelers, etc.

While in 2001, the share of buses in the overall vehicles registered was 1.1%, in 2009 the figure stood at 1.2%. Compared to this, the increase in the number of cars and two- wheelers in the corresponding period have been close to 50%.

It's a worrying trend, admits road transport expert Professor Geetam Tewari of the Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Delhi.

"While the overall vehicle ownership is still very low compared with some of the developed countries, the worrying thing is that the public transport share in this is very low. To check the growing traffic congestion on roads and the subsequent pollution, the government needs to promote bus transport system more aggressively and encourage states to buy more buses," Prof Tewari said.

Also Delhi has once again topped the list of 23 metropolitan cities where the maximum numbers of motor vehicles (6.3 million) were registered in 2008-09.

The Capital is followed by Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Greater Mumbai.

The report also highlights how road infrastructure has failed to keep pace with the phenomenal growth of traffic.

While about 3,000 km was added to existing road network in 2008-09, the total number of motorised vehicles registered in the country in this period was 114.9 million - an increase of 57% compared to 2001 when just 54 million vehicles were registered.