Delhiites prefer their cars to public transport.
With 2.1million cars registered till March 2011, Delhi has the highest car population in the country, according to a latest report of the road transport ministry. Next in line are Bangalore (710,852) and Chennai (598,708). Surprisingly, Mumbai — the financial capital of the country— only has 562,526 registered cars.
That public transport is not a priority can be gauged from the fact that as compared to cars, the number of buses registered in Delhi till 2011 was a mere 45,000.
At 7.2 million, Delhi's vehicle population exceeds the combined vehicle population of Chennai (3.4 million), Kolkata (444,718), Lucknow (1.2 million) and Mumbai (1.8 million).
“At this rate the number of car would double by 2020. How much more road can you build in the city? ... The Centre needs to aggressively scale up public transport and discourage usage of cars during peak hours,” said Anumita Roychoudhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment.
The government's emphasis to promote public transport does not seem to have cut much ice. Of the 142 million motor vehicles registered in India till March 2011, the share of two-wheelers, cars, jeeps and taxis was 121 million and the share of buses was just 1.6 million.
Between 2001 and 2011, while the increase in the number of cars and two-wheelers has been over 50%, the share of buses in the overall vehicles registered has gone down to 1.1% in 2011 from 1.2%, in 2001.
Among the states, Maharashtra (17.4 million) accounted for the largest share of the total registered motor vehicles in India followed by Tamil Nadu, UP, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
Another worrying trend, according to the report, is the mismatch between the rise in the number of motor vehicles and the growth rate of road network. Between 2001 and 2011, the growth rate of registered motor vehicles was almost three times the growth rate of the road network.