Saturday, August 20, 2011

Agility and Mobility in Hub at Vyttila

by D.Dhanuraj

For the last few days, authorities have decided to ask the bus operators to incorporate Mobility hub in their operations for certain specified routes. Iam surprised by the fact that they are in a hurry to do that without making arrangements for smooth entry and exit for the buses. Taking right or left turn at the exit point on tripunithura- vyttla road lead to traffic block at vyttila junction. for the left turn, there is not enough turn around radius so that it does not hinder the smooth flow of the other vehicles on the que while for the right turn, there is congestion already at the signals and more buses can add more congestion!!

The criteria used is to take people to Hub premises. I am tempted to ask; why should they? there is a flaw in the thinking process as enforcement is law is different from the acceptance of law. In this case, what have been turned out to be is the enforcement of the law and not the acceptance of the hub. This is a larger issue when we deal with the sustainable public transport. Use of public transport is dwindled in the city because of the same old reasons; buses take more time, not on time, not many buses to meet the demand etc. what is happening at Hub at present can take people away from the public transport systems.

One may argue that the Hub is partially completed only and everything will settle down in the course of time when the project gets completed. I must say this is the typical Indian attitude in Governance. at many places, people deserted similar projects because of the inconvenience caused to them at the beginning and no matter how the system got improved over the years. the best example is MRTS on Beach - Velacherry Lane in Chennai. Today, if some one takes Vyttila - Vyttila circular route and wants to go to Chertahala side, he has to walk more than 1 km from Hub to hit the bus stop to Allapuzha side. this adds woes to the vehicle movements and pedestrian movements also at the junction.

I am not sure any one from the implementing agencies boarded buses like a common passenger to understand the plight of the passengers and understand the routing issues. they should have done trial runs for more than a week to understand the traffic flow and should have found remedies. transport is live on road and that shall be experienced personally and not by sitting in drawing rooms. Planning shall not be confined to the drawings on the map but by real time case studies. Mobility is nothing but social mobility and if it is not properly understood, we cannot solve these problems for ever.

Transport facilities shall be given priority in terms of accessibility and convenience. By just diverting the routes and shifting the bus stops, one cannot do justice to the public transport movements. Bus day cannot save the public transport unless it is properly organised and channelised.

tail piece : i used to take bus from my home to reach office. But the traffic congestion at vyttila may urge me to resort to private vehicle. at Vyttila i am wasting more than 15 minutes. I am just wondering how many man hours are lost at Vyttila because of this? commuters are wandering about the movements at Vyttila and at the same time wondering what can be done for the delays at Vyttila.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A powerful mayor is the need of Hour

D. Dhanuraj

Video of a Lihtuanian Mayor crushing an illegally parked vehicle shocked generated lots of interest in the last few days. I do believe that parking is not Government's problem but that of vehicle owners. A new orientation is required at the Government level to tackle the issue of parking. when cities are trying their best to give housing, sanitation and drinking water to the citizens, local governments should not venture out to lease the city space for parking. More orientation at this level is very much needed in Indian cities and especially at the level of city administrators.

The video also explicitly describes the mighty power of Lithuanian Mayor. I am a little shocked the way he crushed the vehicle. wish that his tendency is not a habit outside the parking issues as in the times of former Soviet era. At the same time, i am strong supporter of a powerful Mayor for a city. Mayor cannot be a clerk or a glorified signing officer. He should be a powerful persona with powers for execution and administration. All the major departments shall be directly responsible to him. Since the Mayor is a democratically elected position, he shall be able to rule the city as a chief executive officer.

A study conducted by Vinod for Centre for Public Policy Research on Mayoral system shows that Cochin mayor has not many at his disposition. This needs to be changed. All the para statal agencies shall come under him. Even if it is not same interest as the crushing effect shown by the Lithunaian Mayor, Cochin Mayor can deal with fundamental issues of the city by having such power. Why should he be at the mercy of state Government for each and every act in Cochin. This will also ensure that the mayor is responsible to the people and he cannot cite excuses.