Controlling the number of private vehicles on roads and improving public transport seem to be the best ways to decongest Mumbai’s roads and, say urban planning experts.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Tuesday directed the state administration to work out a plan to reduce traffic congestion in Mumbai. More than 6 lakh vehicles ply on the city’s roads every day.
“Faster and better public transport should be given impetus as they can carry more people with less congestion on roads,” said Enrique Penalosa, urban planner and former Mayor of Bogota (Colombia) who is city to discuss urban transport planning. “The government should also keep a check on areas where more private vehicles are parked.”
Some experts feel the removal of parking lots will reduce traffic congestion. “The government should look at areas where people park the vehicles the most and start levying high fees for parking,” said Shreya Gadepalli, Senior Program Director, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).
Parking charges are as low as Rs 5 to Rs 10 an hour even at premium office locations like Nariman Point and Bandra Kurla Complex.
Planners say the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) [separate lanes for public buses] should be implemented as a pilot project on a congested road to understand its functionalities.
Buses run by the Brihanmumbai Electric and Suburban Transport (BEST) undertaking crawl at 10 to 12 km/hr because of private vehicles parked on the roads.
“We are ready with 1,000 buses for BRTS but are waiting for permission from the state government,” said BEST chairman Dilip Patel.