Monday, January 15, 2007

Population screws planning

“You can’t travel in dignity in Bombay's public transport system. On the other hand in Delhi, you can travel in dignity on its buses. And as far as the Metro is concerned, there is no questioning the quality of the ride you will have. Purrfect!!!”, sometimes I find myself saying this to others or hearing this from others.

In a way, you will agree with me. All the bus routes that I can take back home, 373 Ltd, 310, 350 etc are all jam packed, with no opportunity to set foot into them, leave alone have a comfortable ride. And this story holds good for all other bus routes as well. The story of the trains is only too well documented to warrant any attention here. The option of letting a few buses go so that you can take the next 'empty' one is also thrown out of the window; since the traffic snarls make a mockery of the bus frequency, and by the time the bus comes, you stare like Chinnari Mutta saying, "Yeshtondu jana illi yaaru nannovru" (How many people, wonder whom I know!!!). Talk about being stuck in Square One.

There are also times when I leave aside blind emotion and think with reason. What can the planners of Mumbai do more than what they have done so far? There is no place to lay extra tracks; and the roads are already loaded beyond their capacity. The only factor that I can blame is the ever burgeoning population of this giant city.

This brings me to this article. Bill Kirkman explains the lack of a coherent transport policy in Britain. After reading this, I only have to say, “It has never been an issue of perfect planning. Planning works when you have lesser disruptive factors; which in this case is an influx of population. If Bombay too was thinly populated, there would have been no match for its public transport. The great western cities are slowly learning that when faced with increasing population, even the best laid plans fall like a pack of cards.

The only solution in this case is to let chaos rule… In entropy does mankind flourish; and may there be many more Mumbais in this world!!!

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