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Car pooling and public transport might be the only way out for thousands of commuters fed up of the daily traffic jams across the city. They are being pushed aggressively by entrepreneurs and the Traffic Police to adopt one of the options.
With the increase in vehicle population showing no signs of abating and the government reluctant to introduce punitive measures, like congestion tax, there is no way out except voluntary adoption of car pooling or public transport.
According to the traffic police, the situation is worsening every day in areas like Silk Board, Bellandur, Marathahalli, KR Puram, Whitefield, Nagavara, BTM Layout and Koramangala, which house a majority of the city’s IT industry and other sectors. The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is also overwhelmed.
“The situation is worsening. Unless we do something in the next one year, areas in the south-east will have no space left for vehicles to move,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M.A. Saleem.
In the past, the Traffic Police has encouraged and supported car pooling. Several groups have approached them with ideas on how usage of public transport and car pooling could be increased. Such initiatives have been welcomed by a police force burdened with regulating an increasingly dire situation.
The ever active Facebook page of the Bangalore Traffic Police also encourages commuters to opt for rides with verified users. The most recent post on Wednesday announced apps, which are endorsed by the Traffic Police, and urged users to start carpooling on a regular basis.
‘We have reached out to almost 1,300 companies’
The Traffic Police is reaching out to companies through letters drafted by Additional Commissioner (Traffic) M.A. Saleem asking them to issue circulars to increase awareness of car pooling among employees.
“We have reached out to almost 1,300 companies, including the IT industry and other sectors. The situation warrants such action.” Mr. Saleem told The Hindu.
The letter appeals to the companies to issue internal circulars encouraging employees to car pool or travel in public transport. “Since it is not possible to curb purchase of new vehicles and increase the capacity of the roads immediately, the best solution for reducing traffic congestion is to reduce the vehicles on roads. Car pooling or car sharing is one of the effective methods to reduce vehicles,” the letter sent out by Mr. Saleem says.
The vehicular population in the city has crossed 56 lakhs. The resultant vehicle density has led to alarming levels of traffic during peak hours in some areas. “Every second person in Bangalore has a vehicle. This large number of vehicles without adequate capacity of roads has led to traffic congestion, longer journey time and low average speeds,” the letter says.
Roads with high ratio of number of vehicles to capacity of road
|Lalbagh Fort Road||2.67|
App makers in the fray
Sensing an opportunity, several app makers have started making apps which make it easier for commuters to find people travelling on the same route. Some apps, like Poolcircle and Letsdrivealong.com, which have verified users, are being endorsed by the Bangalore Traffic Police.
Several app makers are now offering options to simplify car-pooling in a way that it can be compared with the rideshare options being offered by taxi aggregators.
Rideler, a recently launched company, offers carpooling based on three different business models. Individuals can carpool with verified users. There is an option for companies, which are interested in carpooling as a policy, to tie up with the company. Co-workers can carpool using the app.
Another model is where employees working for different companies located in a tech park can choose to carpool.
These apps ensure safety by verifying licence and registration as well as making company e-mail address mandatory to be made part of these platforms.
From: The Hindu