Trains and buses are the main modes of public transport in India. India’s rail network is the longest in the world.
All rail operations in India are run by the state- owned company called Indian Railways. For over a century and a half, the Indian Railways has worked hard to make inroads into remote areas in an effort to provide communication.
Indian Railways is one of India’s most effective networks which keeps the social, economical, political and cultural labyrinth of the country together. Individual states have their state run buses that help people commute. These buses connect major cities and towns.
After the trains, buses are the next choice for travellers. Buses carry more than 90 percent of public transport in Indian cities.
Most cities in India have minimal rail transport and as such depend on buses, minivans, auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws and taxis for transportation. Mumbai, India’s most affluent city boasts of India’s most extensive suburban railway network, carrying more than 5 million passengers a day.
Image Source: itdp.in
Despite possessing a big network of trains, the population so exceeds the services that getting in and out of the trains is nothing short of a miracle at peak hours. Yes, peak-hour trains carry more than twice the maximum design capacity of the trains.
This means that many passengers are forced to hang perilously outside the train while the ones lucky to be inside are standing back-to-back packed like a tin of sardines.
However in a country where the per capita income is roughly 750 dollars, the cost of public transport cannot be increased. This puts tremendous pressure on the railways which is already reeling under the load of reduced productivity and inflated costs.
The same is the case with the buses. Buses being overstuffed with passengers have to negotiate extremely congested narrow streets. With no special rights of way, they have to compete with a mixed array of other vehicles as well.
Severe roadway congestion has slowed down most buses to a crawl during peak hours. The accelerated growth of India’s population has put tremendous pressure on all its transport systems. The ever increasing travel demand of its millions has put a strain on its already weak infrastructure and services. Clearly public transport is severely compromised and screaming for attention.
Public transport in India needs to be privatised. Privatisation will definitely ease some of the financial burden. The government policies that have encouraged the manufacturers of small cars have resulted in people unhappy with the public transport system opting for personal cars.
This has only increased the burden on the already congested roads. The government should make separate lanes on the road especially for public transport so that the buses don’t have to negotiate all the other vehicles as well. With lesser congestion and better speed the services will get better. The introduction of sky buses could be another solution.
This initiative which proposes to feature several express buses on elevated guide ways could really help in easing the pressure during peak hours. Also no family should be allowed to own more than one car. Automatically people will start using car pools thus reducing the pressure of traffic on the road. Two wheelers must be prohibited. This will help to decongest the roads visibly. Lots can be done with the limited resources we have if only the people and the government come together to help each other. We must all join hands to make our city better.