Public Transport v/s Private Transport – My Take
With each passing day, the traffic situation in Mumbai is worsening. Big traffic jams, accicents, parking woes, etc. Various solutions have been proposed to combat this problem.
Here's a slightly outdated statistical information on the traffic growth in Mumbai from 2005 to 2008. An annualised growth of 12%! That was 1.5 years ago, it has worsened further now.
This problem has been widely debated and discussed topic everywhere. I had the opportunity to be a part of it on two occasions, once on twitter and once during Raxit's session at BCM6. This prompted me to express my views on the topic on this blog.
Many solutions have been proposed to solve our traffic problems – promote public transport, improved road conditions, car pooling, levying of taxes in certain zones, allowing different vehicles on odd and even numbered days.
Public transport is the most viable solution, according to me. I am basing this on certain assumptions
Only road transport is covered
The scenario described is that of Mumbai, it may or may not apply to other places
Less Congestion: Mass means of transport like buses and trains can carry higher number of passengers in lesser space compared to vehicles like cars and bikes.
Reusability: Once a person reaches their destination, the same space can be taken up by somebody else. Thus, there's resusability of the same space. In case of private vehicles the space lies vacant till used again.
Space Saving: Since public transport is reusable, we need a lower number of public transport vehicles. Also, that mass means of transport can fit in more people per area. This leads to saving of space for parking and while plying the vehicles on the road.
Flexibility of Timing: As compared to other options like car pooling, public transport is much more flexible with respect to time. Trains are much faster over longer distances, over shorter distances cabs and autorickshaws can take you to your destination as quickly.
Lower Total Cost: Mass transport options like buses and trains are cheaper to travel. Though, cabs and rickshaws may sound expensive, when considered with option of sharing it becomes cheaper. Add to that, the cost of maintenance is to be borne by the vehicle owner unlike public transport.
But, there are reasons why I use public transport lesser:
Is much less fun unless when travelling in a big group over longer distances.
Going out and exploring some nice places is better done in your cycle, bike, car as compared to public transport
Going out biking with a group of friends once in a while is a must.
Trains and buses are too crowded, which makes me choose my 2 wheeler over those.
Still, I tend to balance between using public transport and my bicycle (now that my bike is stolen), though I tend much more heavily towards my bicycle.