Here is why the city’s roads are choking. The number of vehicles in Mumbai has crossed 25 lakh, with most of them being registered in the past decade.
According to data from regional transport offices (RTO), a total of 25,02,673 vehicles have been registered at all three centres — Tardeo, Andheri, Wadala — till March 31, 2015. This includes 7.57 lakh vehicles in the island city, 11.71 lakh in the western suburban and 5.73 lakh in the eastern suburbs.
While 14.30 lakh two-wheelers were registered, 8 lakh were cars. And in a clear indication of the poor public transport in the city, the number of BEST buses, taxis and autorickshaws registered stood at just 1.86 lakh.
Till 1980, the city had less than 3 lakh vehicles. It took 20 years for the number to cross the 10-lakh mark. However, in the past decade, around 12 lakh more vehicles started to ply on the city’s roads.
According to the Motor Vehicles Department records, the vehicular population was 12.94 lakh in 2005.
Transport department officials attributed the rise to increase in people’s spending capacity and easy loan availability. “Purchasing of a car has become easy. The prices of low-end cars have come down, while the financial capacity of people has gone up,” said an official from the department.
This trend isn’t only restricted to Mumbai. Delhi tops the list with the most numbers of vehicles (88 lakh), followed by Bangalore (50.50 lakh vehicles as on March 2014), and Chennai (42.57 lakh as on July 2014).
However, RTO officials fear the number may be higher, as many owners get the vehicles registered in other parts of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and ply on city roads.
With a road network of just 2,000km, transport experts said measures needed to be taken to control the growth of vehicles. “Every city road has finite capacity. Reasonable restraint measures are required to reduce congestion. A comprehensive mobility plan needs to be prepared,” said AV Shenoy, transport expert.
Regulating parking, introduction of congestion tax, controlling per family vehicle ownership, limiting age of vehicles, are a few steps that can be taken, experts suggested.