Mumbai might be known as the hip and happening city of India but the metropolis has its own share of problems too. The city has been growing at a rapid pace as it has to grapple with the challenges of rampant urbanisation. As a result of this, there has been a surge in vehicular traffic in the city. Since last ten years vehicles have increased manifold in the city. According to the RTO statistics more than 250 vehicles are registered everyday in Mumbai. The total number of vehicles in the city is now 23.3 lakh, a 55% increase in seven years, according to data released by the transport department.
At the same time, the road network has not been able to keep pace with the increasing vehicles. Large number of flyovers has been built during the BJP-Shiv Sena government and even roads were widened. But due to massive increase in vehicles the results are not visible. Often traffic increases during the morning towards the south end of the city when people are headed towards their office and in the evening towards the north when they return back. Buses carry more than 50 passengers and occupy 20 per cent of the road space. On the other hand, cars and private vehicles carry four to six persons but occupy more that 80 per cent of the road space which is unjustified. The average speed of vehicles in urban areas like Mumbai has come down to 20 kmph (from 45 kmph a few years ago)
Even though the number of private vehicles has increased on other hand there has been no increase in the number of auto rickshaws, taxis and buses. If such a situation continues then it will pave way for more congestion on the city roads.
Nowadays, traffic jams have become a common phenomenon even during weekends as people visit malls, go for dining and watch movies. Huge traffic is visible near the malls. Traffic gets blocked in narrow roads where it takes at least one to two hours to cover a stretch of two to three kilometres.
Experts have often raised a huge concern over the rising traffic in the city. They have spoken about overhauling the mass transport system. There was also a talk about Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) and create a dedicated lane for decongesting the city’s roads. If Mumbai aspires to become a global city then it should follow the traffic policy adopted by cities like London, New York and Singapore. In foreign countries if a motorist violates traffic rules then heavy fine is imposed on him. Moreover, if anyone jumps signal then his vehicle number is captured on CCTV cameras and challan is issued to him at his residence. In Singapore a person has to scrap his existing car before buying a new one.
To curb vehicular traffic heavy cess must be imposed on petrol and diesel to dissuade people from driving private cars. There must be a huge hike in parking charges especially in the commercial districts of the city. Finally Mumbaikars too must adopt various measures like opting for car-pooling facilities and mass transportation to conserve fuel and reduce vehicular traffic in the city.