There are about 44 lakh vehicles in Bangalore, of which more than 30 lakh are two-wheelers, 8 lakh four-wheelers while the rest are buses, goods vehicles and other private service vehicles

On an average, some 1,200 vehicles are registered in the nine Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) across the city daily.

There are about 44 lakh vehicles in Bangalore, of which more than 30 lakh are two-wheelers, 8 lakh four-wheelers while the rest are buses, goods vehicles and other private service vehicles, Bangalore Urban and Rural Transport Department figures say.

H.G. Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Traffic (Enforcement), Bangalore Urban and Rural Transport Department, attributes it to increased purchase power, people owning more than one vehicle and their reluctance to use public transport.

Failed initiatives

The continued rise in vehicle population comes even as a number of initiatives such as carpooling and Safe Route to School flopping while proposals such as congestion tax and ban on vehicles more than 15 years old not taking off.

“Many such initiatives have only remained as terminologies as there are no takers,” pointed out traffic expert M.N. Sreehari.

Safe Route to School was an initiative where many schools tied up with the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) to cut the number of vehicles parked around schools to ease congestion. However, many parents still to prefer to drop and pick up their children in cars.

Non-starter

Vishwanath S., who works for an IT firm, too tried experimenting with carpooling.

“People are not ready to share maintenance costs and are even reluctant to drive around with people in their neighbourhood. Everyone wants their own vehicle to drive around and are not ready to share it with others,” he said.

He believes that a better idea would be to hire a taxi service and fix one car for a particular neighbourhood that can pick up and drop off the residents.

The costs can be shared on a monthly basis and it wouldn’t be the responsibility of one person to drive everybody around.

Stringent parameters

Prof. Sreehari attributes the failure of carpooling to snobbery and a misplaced sense of hierarchy.

Calling for a big cutback in vehicle registration, he recommends stringent parameters for issuing licences to drivers, citing examples of countries whose tough laws — such as even garage and parking tax — encourage citizens to opt for public transport.

To this, Mr. Kumar said that the law does not permit such measures. “We can only put it into action only if a Bill is passed,” he said.

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