3 crore vehicles and counting in Maharashtra: Prepare to spend more time in traffic jam
The number of vehicles in the state jumped to 3.14 crore in January this year from 1.69 crore in 2011 — an 85% risemumbai Updated: May 19, 2018 23:38 IST
In what may set alarm bells for a future plagued with traffic jam and air pollution, the number of vehicles in the state jumped to 3.14 crore in January this year from 1.69 crore in 2011 — an 85% rise.
This translates into 104 vehicles per kilometre compared to 71 in 2011, which signals that you may have to spend more time on road owing to congestion.
While two-wheelers and cars clocked around 90% jump, public buses recorded a meagre 4.82% rise in this period, according to the economic survey of Maharashtra 2017-18.
Experts have attributed the lopsided growth to poor public transport and a high fare for the last-mile connectivity, among others. Among all vehicles, the number of two-wheelers grew most rapidly, to 2.3 crore from 1.2 crore, in the last seven years. It was followed by cars: to 45.14 lakh from 23.82 lakh.
On the contrary, the number of stage carriage buses, mainly run by the state and municipal corporations, increased by only 4.82% to 35,705 from 34,061.
Autorickshaws and taxis, which are crucial links to provide last-mile connectivity, saw double-digit growths at 16.03% and 61.33%, respectively.
Currently, Maharashtra has 2.95 lakh taxis, including the ones used by as app-based aggregators, and 7.47 lakh autorickshaws. Highlighting the reasons for an uptick in private vehicles, a senior road transport official said a lot has changed over the years in the way people commute.
“People have switched to personal vehicles, including two -wheelers, because of affordability. They don’t want to pay higher fare for a 10km-20km journey,” said the officer.
The switch, according to him, is more pronounced in rural areas and small towns where people commute to big cities for employment. Other factors are easy availability of loans and increased spending power.
Experts fear that congestion and air pollution will worsen as the number of private vehicles will grow unabated unless the public transport goes under a major overhaul.
“To ferry the same number of people, we need three times more space, which is scarce in cities,” said Ashok Datar, transport expert. Experts also suggested that the government needs to
survey rural areas and small towns to iron out mobility constraints “The government also needs to regulate fares charged by autorickshaws in rural areas,” said AV Shenoy, another transport expert.