Number of vehicles in Bengaluru more than doubles to 70 lakh
BENGALURU: The number of vehicles registered in Bengaluru has climbed to 70.28 lakh -- 48.69 lakh two-wheelers and 13.58 lakh four-wheelers. However, the actual number could be higher since out-of-state vehicles and those registered in other Karnataka districts also ply on city roads. According to Census 2011, Bengaluru has a population of 84.43 lakh.
Statistics released by the transport department last week shows the number has more than doubled in the past 10 years, with 40.18 lakh new vehicles having been added. Two-wheelers continue to dominate Bengaluru roads, accounting for 70% of its total vehicular population, followed by cars (19%).
Bengaluru is home to the second highest number of vehicles in India. New Delhi tops the list with 1.01 crore vehicles. In contrast, Hyderabad accounts for 48.70 lakh vehicles (as on October 31), Chennai for 47.57 lakh (as on April 2016) and Mumbai for 30.69 lakh (as on March 2017).
Experts say BMTC's depleting fleet of buses and high fares, poor last-mile connectivity , high parking fee at Metro stations and elusive suburban trains are pushing more and more people to opt for private vehicles. The rising number of vehicles is leading to con gestion on roads, bring ing down average speed and causing pollution levels to rise.
Traffic expert M N Sreehari feels a reliable transport system will attract more people to public transport. "The average speed on city roads has dropped over the past few years due to the rising number of vehicles. On most stretches, the average speed is in single digits during peak hours," he said.
Traffic police are also facing the brunt of the increase."Dealing with illegal parking is a challenge. We have to increase the towing capacity," said additional commissioner of police (traffic) R Hithendra.
If the annual growth rate of 10% remains the same, Bengaluru is likely to have 1.08 crore vehicles by 2022.
A senior transport department official said they don't have records of vehicles which have been abandoned or are lying unused. "Nearly 9 lakh vehicles which are over 15 years old are unlikely to be plying in the city . There is no provision to limit vehicles per family or curb new registrations," said a senior official.He said easy availability of loans and a poor public transport system are fuelling the increase in private vehicles.
Officials said completion of the Metro Phase II network by 2020 will encourage more people to switch to public transport. However, BMRC is unlikely to meet the deadline, if one goes by its track record.
Blaring horns, clogged roads and harried commuters -this sums up the nightmarish traffic situation in the city. At a time when streets are already crumbling under the burgeoning vehicular population, a peek into the future is scary. With the number of vehicles expected to cross the 1-crore mark by 2022, the chaos will only worsen. In the absence of a provision to curb new registrations, a robust public transport system will help tackle the problem. Building flyovers and widening streets is no good unless commuters make the transition to other modes like bus and Metro.Even initiatives like car-pooling need a strong push. It's time to act now, both at the individual and collective level.