On October 31 last year, a significant event passed off largely unnoticed: the number of vehicles registered in Karnataka crossed the one-crore mark. Of this, 50 lakh vehicles were registered in Bangalore city and the neighbouring four districts.
This means in a State with a population of six crore, every sixth person owns a vehicle. Bangalore Urban hosted 40 lakh vehicles and the surrounding districts of Ramanagaram, Chickballapur, Kolar and Tumkur 10 lakh.
Of the 1,05,52,363 State-registered vehicles, two-wheelers led the pack with nearly 75 per cent (74.8 lakh), followed by cars, which account for about 12 per cent (12 lakh). In Bangalore Urban, the ratio of two-wheelers to cars is slightly lower with the former at 67 per cent (27.86 lakh) and cars at about 19 per cent (7.6 lakh).
There has been a near-threefold increase in the number of vehicles in Karnataka in the last 10 years, from 36.92 lakh in 2000-01 to 99.30 lakh in 2010-11. These numbers were just 15.83 during 1991-92. In a matter of one year, nearly 10 lakh vehicles were added between 2009-10 and 2010-11.
Commenting on the increase in the numbers, traffic engineering expert M.N. Sreehari said the growth has indeed been exponential in the Bangalore region. “The increase not only indicates the uncontrolled growth of the city, but also the absence of an effective public transport system,” Prof. Sreehari told The Hindu .
The fact that personal vehicles account for more than 86 per cent of the total vehicles in Bangalore indicates people's preference for door-to-door connectivity. The boom in vehicle population is fuelled by absence of effective mass transport, easy availability of vehicle loan and the capacity to pay.