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Old 23rd June 2010, 10:55   #1
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Default June 22nd; Auto Rikshaw Strike, Rain And My Thoughts

This is my first monsoon in Mumbai during which I am using my own car to commute to work. In these first few days, I was stuck in really bad traffic on two occasions.

Yesterday evening, it started raining heavily. The first thought which comes to my mind is 'I am gonna get stuck again'.

At around 7.30 PM I pack my bag and leave. I take my car out and proceed. While leaving the office premise, I set my wiper at a speed of one notch. Soon I realize that this is not going to be enough. I further increase my wiper speed to two notches. Its pouring quite heavily.

To my surprise, the pump house traffic, which usually crawls at this hour was free flowing. I suddenly realize that its Rikshaw strike today.

As soon as I hit the WEH I receive a call from my wife (she is on her way home in her company bus).

'Where are you?'

'JVLR flyover'

'OK. Wait for me near Westin. Its Rikshaw strike today'

I reach Westin within no time (minimal traffic, remember?) and wait there. By this time, my wiper speed is one notch down.

10-15 mins and she is there. As soon as she sits, I ask her;

'Why cant we do this everyday?'

'Sounds great'

On our way back home I start thinking, what can we do to improve traffic situation.

The traffic was much better despite of heavy rains. No Auto Rikshaws around. Don't know what was the situation in town.

How do we reduce number of autos on road on permanent basis?

What if we really have good bus service?
  • Like the new low floor buses
  • A little smaller in size which can reach interior parts (to reduce walking distance of commuters)
  • Driven by sensible BEST drivers (yeah! sounds like a fantasy)
  • With really good frequency (a bus every 5 mins) to have less overcrowding (eh?)
I have travelled by the AC 422 bus (Mulund-Andheri) for 5-6 months when I was putting up at Thane. I used to get down at Nelco stop and walk to my office, some 4-500 meters.

I am ready to do it again from Goregaon, provided we have good service.

I think further and I come up with this.
  • Assign unique number to each bus stop
  • Have all these details all around
    • Internet
    • Pamphlets
    • Small maps, 10 Rs each just like Mumbai locals.
  • A newbie (hey, I am a BHPian now) needs to SMS BESTSTOP ABC to XYZ. The reply SMS;
    • Bus Stop ABC
    • Bus Number QWE
    • Get Down Bus Stop XXX (only in case if no direct bus available)
    • Bus Number ASD
    • Get Down Bus Stop XYZ
    • Enough, now walk to office , which is like 500 meters away as per our wide spread network plan (because of smaller buses)
I want to reach from bus stop number 129 to 999.

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But there are no direct buses.

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  • Bus Stop 129
  • Bus Number QWE
  • Get Down Bus Stop 987
  • Bus Number ASD
  • Get Down Bus Stop 999
  • And I walk to my office
Few additional points;
  • No more Auto Rikshaw/ Taxi licenses to be issued (I have heard this before)
  • Auto/ Taxi drivers to be trained to prevent their loss of income (remember we want to have large number of small buses, so more drivers required)
  • Existing BEST drivers should not train these newbies
  • 1.5 hours of loss of productivity to be compensated by additional suggestions

Last edited by prateek99 : 23rd June 2010 at 10:59.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 15:11   #2
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Originally Posted by prateek99 View Post
How do we reduce number of autos on road on permanent basis?
Simple answer, you can't! You have almost 7 Lakh auto rickshaws because there is a need that public transport cannot fulfill. Even if you were to come up with a sensible plan you will never get to implement it. There are too many people in power who have "interests" with the Auto/Taxi unions. Even if you propose reducing the rickshaw numbers by 10% there will be a big hue and cry, political muscles will be flexed, protests will be staged and your plan will meet its swift and inevitable end.

On the other hand if I was to indulge my imagination and fantasize I would suggest that we make use of the sea for transporatation. We need to have an efficient ferry system for public transport. Build infrastructure like piers, jetty's etc import / build ferries that can carry people and cars. This will get a lot of load off our roads and automatically reduce the need for rickety ricks and cabs.

People should be given incentives to travel short distances by bicycle. There should be a safe bicycle lanes running parrallel to all major roads. Not to mention, with reduced automobiles on the road one wouldn't damage their lungs while cycling all day either. Enough daydreaming now.....gotta get back to work!
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Old 23rd June 2010, 17:22   #3
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You want to reduce autos on the road ? there is only one solution -

Get a ban on more additions - if not possible then collect them in one place and SET THEM ON FIRE.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 18:33   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfheart View Post
Even if you were to come up with a sensible plan you will never get to implement it. There are too many people in power who have "interests" with the Auto/Taxi unions. Even if you propose reducing the rickshaw numbers by 10% there will be a big hue and cry, political muscles will be flexed, protests will be staged and your plan will meet its swift and inevitable end.
Only one thing that can be done is

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfheart View Post
On the other hand if I was to indulge my imagination and fantasize I would suggest that we make use of the sea for transporatation.
That's being contemplated in Uran.

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Originally Posted by Wolfheart View Post
People should be given incentives to travel short distances by bicycle. There should be a safe bicycle lanes running parrallel to all major roads. Not to mention, with reduced automobiles on the road one wouldn't damage their lungs while cycling all day either.
My office is 12 kms from my home. Yet I consider it close but I don't want to cycle my way , 24 kms, I will be dead.

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You want to reduce autos on the road ?
I want to reduce traffic on the roads.

One day no autos on the road, heavy rain, yet no traffic jams. I want to reach home in peace.

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collect them in one place and SET THEM ON FIRE.
Shant gada dhari bheem shant.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 18:57   #5
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I want to reduce traffic on the roads.
when a person has a good, clean, fast, affordable way of commuting from his home to his place of work and back, why he would bring out his car on the road ?

Only reasonably good way to reduce traffic on the road is to make the common man use the mass rapid transport viz Trains / Metros with interconnect bus service.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 19:25   #6
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In Bangalore too an Auto strike is clearly evident on the spacious roads therafter. It is a blessing and reduces some road stress automatically. Whenever there is a news of an autostrike in Bangalore I have a broad smile on my face. There is a demand for autos and hence they are on the roads. Once people start taking mass public transport and if it is available till every nook and corner of the city we will have less of ricks and more of buses. And we know what happens if a bus breaks down on the middle of the road and how responsibly they behave after a breakdown. Some twigs hanging here and there and thats it. Apart from that if the rick guys find money in anything else besides auto, they will not be on the road.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 19:58   #7
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when you limit the number of autos, the prices of existing auto licenses will shoot up. This will create another underground economy.

NY's Taxi Medallion System

the overall fare that one pays for a trip will go up too, hopefully that will pull people into using public transport. like europeans do by imposing heavy taxes on cars.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 20:13   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
Only reasonably good way to reduce traffic on the road is to make the common man use the mass rapid transport viz Trains / Metros with interconnect bus service.
+1. Govt should concentrate on good bus connections & frequency also. If its convenient to take public transport, then why do you think people (majority) will think about getting their car out. Especially with the regular fuel hikes

Anyway, I cycle to office. So, I save on fuel and hopefully my medical bills too
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Old 23rd June 2010, 20:20   #9
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In Bangalore, the autos add to the traffic mess.

In addition, they demand excess fares,have tampered meters, don't want to travel to destinations and generally are a bunch of ruffians.

I don't even remember the last time i took an auto - these days bus transport has improved in Bangalore and I prefer taking it. Things will only improve with the metro.

Last edited by sdp1975 : 23rd June 2010 at 20:21.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 22:12   #10
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Yeah Baby!!! I am getting my point through.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
when a person has a good, clean, fast, affordable way of commuting from his home to his place of work and back, why he would bring out his car on the road ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by prince_pervez View Post
if it is available till every nook and corner of the city we will have less of ricks and more of buses.
That's my point!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
the overall fare that one pays for a trip will go up too, hopefully that will pull people into using public transport.
Agree. In my opinion though, willingness should be more important that compulsion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
+1. Govt should concentrate on good bus connections & frequency also.
+1

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdp1975 View Post

these days bus transport has improved in Bangalore and I prefer taking it.
I hope this will happen in Mumbai too, some day.

I guess my initial post was not clear enough. Things are falling in line now though
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Old 23rd June 2010, 22:38   #11
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I used to cycle to office when it was 3 kms away. Now my office is 33 kms away (one way). So I drive. Waiting for my current lease to get over so that I can shift closer to office. But the madness is that my office keeps shifting faster than I can move!
Wish all IT people get to work from home and meet once a week for meetings and status reporting alone. Now am I not crazy?
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Old 23rd June 2010, 22:47   #12
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Guys, its not only in Mumbai & Bangalore, if the autorickshaws are on strike, the traffic flow is smooth even in Chennai. Most of the accident makers are autos, followed by Govt buses (directly or indirectly). Its just the population of auto increased several fold in these many years & when they make sudden disappearance the traffic flow is smooth.

PS - Now Chennai will no longer will have free traffic flow due to auto strikes. We now have "share" auto contributing to the numbers, unions as well as traffic jams.

@MX6 - count me too crazy on that too.
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Old 24th June 2010, 08:49   #13
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An Auto strike is a boon for car owners and a bane for the common man. I personally feel that atleast once a month the rickshaws should go off road. On Tuesday I could touch 60 kmph on the JVLR road near IIT Powai when normally I crawl at 30kmph. Just thinking about ourselves would not help, even the rick guys have mouths to feed.
The reason for so many rickshaw's plying in the city is due to fact that most of the time one rick carry only one passenger, if citizens had rick pooled this would reduce the no of ricks operating. The Tata Magic is good alternative which accomodate atleast 6 persons and could ply from one specific point to another. Also the routes should be clearly defined and assigned to group of operators instead of the rick logic of going from one part of the city to other.
Reagrding the dedicated bicyle lane, I dont think this would work since it would be mostly occupied for parking and by hawkers. The classic example is in Pune where it was announced with much fanfare and is now reduced to hawkers occupying the lane.
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Old 24th June 2010, 10:26   #14
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The solution is very simple:

1. Buses to be used for commuting long distances. (Lets say > 10 km)
a) Provide different type of buses - regular, better ones and AC ones.
b) Frequency and number of buses to be increased based on number of commuters on the respective routes.

2. Provide feeder service for the last mile connectivity. Mini buses or tempos to be used to ferry passengers from major bus stops to their destination (Lets say < 5 km). Frequency of feeder service should also be good.

3. System of monthly pass should be promoted for use of bus service and feeder service. Discounts can also be given to people who renew their monthly pass for certain number of months consecutively. Also, give attractive discounts for first time applicants so that they are introduced to the concept of using public transport.

4. People should develop the habit of walking. Many people feel shy or get exhausted to walk even half a km.

The biggest reason why auto rickshaws are so popular is that they provide end to end connectivity. If the government (or private bus operators) can provide a similar end to end connectivity (using the bus service and feeder service mentioned above), most daily commuters would definitely avoid the auto rickshaws.

Rohan
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Old 24th June 2010, 12:44   #15
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I don't think anything is going to happen in the future - only thing confirmed is that traffic will get more unruly and dense - govt will sit back and watch since their pockets will be filled up and the common man will suffer.
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