TRAFFIC CONGESTION in Mumbai leads to commuters spending 135 per cent more time in road travel than any other Asian city, says a recent study conducted by consulting firm Boston Consulting Group.
The study also mentions that the city commuters would take 78 per cent more time to travel from point A to point B compared to the time taken in Singapore. This means that compared to any other Asian city, where it takes an average of 10 minutes to commute between two destinations during peak hours, a commuter in Mumbai will take 25 minutes to cover the same stretch.
However, the study also shows that Mumbai fares better when compared to other metros like Kolkata and Bangalore. According to the data, while commuters in Kolkata take 171 per cent more time than the average to travel during peak hours, the figure for Delhi is 162 per cent. Moreover, while Delhi contributes to 129 per cent more peak hour travel time, a majority of other Asian cities, including Singapore (57 per cent) and Bangkok (105 per cent) are below the 130 per cent mark.
Large number of private vehicles, low quality of road infrastructure and lesser availability of feeder transport modes are cited to be the reasons behind this, says the report. “Congestion in Delhi and Mumbai remains high due to a large number of private vehicles and the low quality of road infrastructure. With the burgeoning population and the growing prosperity of Delhi and Mumbai, the reliance on cars in expected to increase, adding more pressure to road networks. In Mumbai, however, we estimate that even with the planned expansion and full capacity utilisation of current and future railway lines, the city may be unable to maintain the current levels of peak congestion by 2022,” it stated.
The study commissioned by private cab aggregator Uber has studied commute patterns in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata.
Mumbai sees close to 32 lakh private vehicles and motorcyles on the road. It sees registration of 2.5 lakh new private vehicles every year. While the state government had tried to boost the use of public transport by relaxing the curb on the permits of rickshaws and taxis, no major effect has been seen.
“Major construction projects and encroachment seems to be behind dense traffic congestion in Mumbai. This is why a holistic planning is needed to ensure that public transport, including feeder modes, are developed,” says transport expert A V Shenoy.
It is believed that seven new Metro routes, expected to be built in another 10 years, would reduce traffic congestion in Mumbai. At present, the largest form of public transport, Railways, carries close to 80 lakh commuters on a daily average basis while a single Metro line (Metro 1) from Ghatkopar-Andheri is used by 4 lakh commuters.
The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) bus service for island city has seen a decrease in daily ridership from 40 lakh to 28 lakh in the past 10 years. City buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws and private cab aggregators remain the other modes of public transport for Mumbai.
“Only building Metro routes is not going to solves congestion issues in Mumbai. The authorities must look at giving last-mile connectivity infrastructure to people. Freeing choked up narrow roads and having a holistic vision to solve this issue must be the aim,” says Shenoy.