Traffic congestion or traffic jams on our roads are a common sight. According to the police, traffic congestion also leads to other problems, such as road rage and road bullies, in addition to fatal accidents. There are many ways we can help ease traffic congestion in our country. The main reason is that our roads get clogged up during the monsoon and the increasing number of vehicles, especially private ones. Most families nowadays have at least two cars. Thus, there has to be ongoing campaigns on the benefits of carpooling. Parents can make an effort to drive their children to work rather than helping him or her purchase a car. Those with school going children should use school buses rather than sending their children on their own. There is always congestion near schools as most parents prefer to send their children for reasons of safety or convenience. Thus, a regulation must be introduced that bans parents from sending their children in private vehicles. Children should instead be encouraged to use school buses, which is much cheaper as compared to private vehicles.
Another way to help our country overcome traffic congestion is to increase the price of vehicles. It can be a nightmare to be on the roads during weekends. Most people either dine out or go shopping during the weekends, thereby resulting into traffic jams. The government should impose a weekend levy or congestion cess on those who use private vehicles during weekends. This would discourage people from using their cars and instead use public transport to arrive at their destinations. This step would also indirectly reduce accident rates.
The recent hike in petrol prices should be welcomed rather than criticized. Most people are able to afford cars not only because they are cheaper as compared to say Thailand and Japan, but also because petrol prices are relatively low. The increase in petrol prices however, appears to have little impact in reducing traffic in major cities. Perhaps, the government must further revise the price of petrol to discourage people from spending idle time on the roads.
There are also many reasons behind traffic congestion. One is the narrowness of roads in proportion to the large number of vehicles. Traffic rules should also be imposed with an iron hand and more policemen should be posted on the roads. Unlicensed vehicles should be removed. Drivers have to be conscious about traffic rules and regulations. Traffic congestion is also caused by commuters travelling daily to work. Majority of people prefer using their own vehicles (cars, motorbikes, etc) instead of opting for public transport. Another factor is that most people live in the suburbs and they tend to travel at the same time of the day everyday. Moreover, cars and road space are not used efficiently. As a result, this traffic jams occur during the rush hours.
I work at Marol Naka and the traffic here is very heavy, especially in the evenings. Every day after 5.00 p.m., there is a massive traffic jam along the Andheri-Kurla Road and the authorities concerned are turning a blind eye towards it. This has been going on for years — 30 years as far as I can remember. I leave office at 6.00 p.m. and by the time I reach Kurla Railway Station to board a train to my residence in Dombivili, it is almost 9.00 p.m.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)