Bengaluru’s vehicle population has recently crossed the 80 lakh mark and is now heading for the magic figure of one crore, which is just three years away; by 2022. This is the total number of vehicles registered in the city. Bengaluru is now second only to Delhi where around 1.5 crore vehicles had been registered.
Fingers are being pointed at the lack of an efficient public transport system which is fueling this rise of private vehicles.
The latest figures made available by the Karnataka transport department states that as many as 1,752 vehicles are added to the ever-growing fleet on a daily basis. According to Karnataka Transport Commissioner VP Ikkeri, the number of vehicles has risen from 74.06 lakh in April 2018 to 80.45 lakh at the close of the financial year 2018-19. He further adds that neither a policy to restrict the number of vehicles per family nor constant widening of roads is feasible in the city.
Interestingly, this number does not include vehicles from other states that are widely spotted in the city.
However, there is an alternate view. “A clear crackdown on registration of private cars is the best solution to this problem of large number or vehicles, says Ashish Verma, mobility expert and Associate Professor for Transportation Systems Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
“The government should introduce and enforce clear regulatory and fiscal measures to reduce private ownership of cars. There should be high taxes on private cars or we should limit the number of registrations done annually. We should clearly discourage people from buying cars either for personal use or for cab aggregation” he says.
While private ownership continues unabated, public transport systems are unable to take away the burden of the commuters due to a variety of reasons.
Vinay Srinivasa of the Bangalore Bus Prayaanikara Vedike, a community forum for bus commuters of Bengaluru, blames the government for not adding more buses to the existing fleet of the public transport corporations, which has discouraged many and led to them opting for private modes of transport. “The net increase in the number of public buses is stagnant and not more than 50 buses are being added to the public transport pool, each year, for the last five years. Most buses are overcrowded and always fail to be on time. The bus fare in the city is among the highest in the country and this too has encouraged more people to opt for their own two-wheelers” he said. Public transport/buses should also have exclusive lanes and right of way, for users to prefer buses, he adds.
Bengaluru sees more than 80 lakh vehicles on the roads, while the state overall has seen a registration of around 2.1 crore vehicles so far.