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Old 7th November 2007, 10:01   #1
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Default Thomas Friedman says "India, Tax the hell out of your cars"

NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman asks the Indian leaders to tax the hell out of India's new cars.

No, no, no, don't follow us

Familiar arguments here; build more mass transit, discourage car travel by taxing cars a lot. I've mixed feelings on this - our city roads are increasingly getting choked by more cars. 30000 cars are added annually to Chennai alone; and most of them ply along arterial roads. On the other hand, as a relatively new car owner myself, cant grudge the fact that cars are made affordable for more people. We may soon need desperate measures, but I'm not sure what they'd be.

What do you think?
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Old 7th November 2007, 10:29   #2
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were already being taxed enough on cars. paying double the price for imported cars. thats bad enough.
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Old 7th November 2007, 10:30   #3
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I agree partially but one needs to build the Mass transit first. We are used to tax hikes and false promises. This is wearing too thin now.

Use of cars in cities needs to be taxed heavily with road pricing systems. People in peripharala areas still need personal transport

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Old 7th November 2007, 10:33   #4
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Bad Idea!
Mass transport in India is quite poorly developed, with over crowded buses and trains.
I think we need to develop a good transport system like the ones present in the US/London and then talk.
Also, traffic situation would improve if people drive properly and if the roads are good.
The Government should focus on improving the roads and traffic sense of people here.
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Old 7th November 2007, 11:02   #5
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@Lambo: if you read the attached article, it clearly says dont copy us - building more roads wont solve the problem.
And US/London are hardly great examples for a good transport system. London particularly has worse traffic than even Chennai - as admitted by a member here.
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Old 7th November 2007, 11:11   #6
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Mass transport, what's that?? Seriously the concept of mass transport in India is appalling and anyone who can afford a decent car looks at travelling by Indian Railways or the STC Buses (Shudder) with contempt because the conditions are so bad. I mean look at air travel for instance, it might have become cheaper but due to a sever lack of infrastructure it is a pain to deal with the crowds, delays & poor service at the airports.

As for taxes, with around 60% of each car's cost being taxes paid to various arms of the govt. not to mention the heavy taxes on fuel, aren't we paying more than we need to already?? Now, we even pay tolls for new roads, which ideally should have been developed in the first place with the road tax that we paid when registering our vehicles.

My take on the issue is, first develop the infrastructure & then start doing something about private vehicles. In fact, if the Govt. does a good job, they won't have to do anything people will realise the savings convenience of using public transport & will switch to it willingly.

For eg. Look at how successful a project Delhi Metro has been, since it's a world-class facility offering economical transport in fantastic conditions, people have taken to it like ducks to water & people from all classes of society. I know for a fact that most of the traders (even the biggest ones), workers, labourers etc. in places like Chawri Bazar, Sadar Bazar now use the Metro to come to work rather than in their cars & it's infinitely less troublesome & so much more convenient for them. Not to mention the students going to DU, the autnyji travelling to CP for some shopping etc. etc. Do something like that & you won't have to tax vehicles off the road, they'll get parked themselves.

Last edited by iraghava : 7th November 2007 at 11:13.
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Old 7th November 2007, 11:13   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ballkey View Post
@Lambo: if you read the attached article, it clearly says dont copy us - building more roads wont solve the problem.
And US/London are hardly great examples for a good transport system. London particularly has worse traffic than even Chennai - as admitted by a member here.
Of course developed countries have higher motorisation and traffic levels, but as all would agree, vastly superior traffic management and enforcement of rules.

Urban and rural traffic congestion can be reduced not only by building more roads, but more importantly better designed roads, traffic management including access controls. Effective and appropriate levels of public transport service are essential.

All road users accept a degree of road congestion but more importantly they attach a high value to the reliability and predictability of road travel conditions. Can you get that in India.

Targeting travel time variability and the most extreme congestion incidents can deliver the most rapid improvements. Unreliable and extremely variable travel times are the source of greatest frustration.

Perhaps the time for unmanaged, free access to highly-trafficked urban roads needs to come to an end. Most traditional congestion relief measures either free up existing capacity or deliver new road capacity, which is likely to be rapidly swamped with previously suppressed and new demand, at least in Indian cities. Thus, demand will need to be managed. This will need to employ a combination of access, parking and road pricing measures.
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Old 7th November 2007, 11:32   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vasudeva View Post
All road users accept a degree of road congestion but more importantly they attach a high value to the reliability and predictability of road travel conditions. Can you get that in India.

Targeting travel time variability and the most extreme congestion incidents can deliver the most rapid improvements. Unreliable and extremely variable travel times are the source of greatest frustration.
Very true. A 6 kms ride from my home to office or vice versa can take me anything between 20 mins to 1 hour on my bike. If there are cops who are controlling the traffic, the time taken is always on the higher side.

I decided yo try out the BMTC Volvo service, but 2 days later, i was back on my bike/car. Inside, it is so congested that you life your foot, you wont find space to place it again.
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Old 7th November 2007, 11:51   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benbsb29 View Post
I decided yo try out the BMTC Volvo service, but 2 days later, i was back on my bike/car. Inside, it is so congested that you life your foot, you wont find space to place it again.
And still BMTC complains that volvo is running losses. Can't buses have metro style coaches? meaning 80% standing? that can help accomodate more people. Atleast for routes where commute times are around 45mins.

Nearly 10% of the total cost of all vehicles in Bangalore is lying with the govt in form of taxes and we still dont get roads that last more than a year.
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Old 7th November 2007, 11:55   #10
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@ballkey - I meant the public mass transport available in those cities such as the underground tubes. Also i didn't mean more roads, i meant better designed roads without potholes and variations that coinsiderably slow down travel time and increase frustration as well as fuel consumption.
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Old 7th November 2007, 12:00   #11
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In road management, there is a concept called volume/capacity (v/c). Under ideal conditions, while variability of travel times is insignificant under a v/c ratio of 0.9, it increases sharply to a v/c of 1.3, where it ceases to increase further. Research into travel time reliability shows that it can best be delivered when traffic on the roadways is managed such that actual flows are below the roadway’s physical capacity. Further, increased capacity at intersections can greatly improve trip reliability benefits without necessarily improving average travel times.

Reducing v/c from 1.1 to 0.8 at the peak will have a very large impact on reliability. As well, whereas reducing v/c in highly congested peak hours from 1.0 to 0.9 has an important impact, reducing from 1.6 to 1.3 will have almost no impact on reliability.

The extent to which crashes, roadworks, and other incidents or unplanned events impact traffic flow varies from time of day (peak vs. off peak hours) and by type of road network (dense urban vs uninterrupted expressways). For example, an incident that causes 1 lane blockage can reduce road capacity by 68% on a 2 lane road, 47-50% on a 3-lane road, and 40-45% on a 4 lane road. A 2-lane blockage (imagine a flat tyre on a truck or bus with the driver changing the tyre) reduces capacity by 90-100% on a 2-lane, 80% on a 3-lane, and 70% on a 4-lane. How traffic authorities manage this is crucial for improving trip reliability.
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Old 7th November 2007, 12:37   #12
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The public transport currently is not for the faint-hearted. Change that first. The real threat from advice like Friedman's is that this country is governed by resourceful idiots - the most dangerous type.
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Old 7th November 2007, 16:19   #13
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Let him ask the government of his own country to "tax the hell out of our cars." Any US government would fall like a pack of cards if they even dared suggested such a thing loudly.

Last edited by amit : 7th November 2007 at 16:22.
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Old 7th November 2007, 16:33   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iraghava View Post
My take on the issue is, first develop the infrastructure & then start doing something about private vehicles. In fact, if the Govt. does a good job, they won't have to do anything people will realise the savings convenience of using public transport & will switch to it willingly.
For eg. Look at how successful a project Delhi Metro has been, since it's a world-class facility offering economical transport in fantastic conditions, people have taken to it like ducks to water & people from all classes of society.
Well said iraghava!

Govt should first improve the infrastructure and public transport, instead of finding avenues to levy further taxes on the common public, who are forced to take to their own vehicles to commute thanks to the inefficient public transport.

As Delhi Metro has proved it, once we have a good & efficient Public transport, people will switch to the same on their own!
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Old 7th November 2007, 16:42   #15
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If the government ensures smooth pothole free roads with good easy to see signs and well educated drivers and pedestrians then 20% of the congestion will automatically get eased. As for taxing cars more, these things can happen only if the public transport is improved FIRST.

With the infrastructure we have, the government should be paying us money for driving and commuting on our roads and public transit.
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