This is a reproduction from one of my earliest blogs. Do excuse me if you find it too harsh. Suggestions and feedback welcome though.
I have been hearing Delhi’s CM reaching out to listeners of FM and appealing to practice lane and sane driving and reducing accidents. However, the same has not been followed up with any education/enforcement from DTP. And if she (or any govt) thinks that all drivers on the road know the rules of lane driving then they should have listened to radio themselves on 14th and 15th of August, where people spoke of first color of our Tricolor as “Orange”, actually.
I think it’s high time that Authorities (MCD, DTP and others) does a thorough analysis of Traffic Situation in NCR (it applies to many other cities as well). India adopted a culture of mixed traffic since independence as traffic was just that – there were Tongas, Baggis, Bicycles and perhaps couple of foreign cars. But we’ve traveled. Traveled so much that today India is attracting every car maker of the world here. Common sense suggests two measures that need to be enforced very urgently. One, need for segregated traffic and second, lane driving discipline.
Today, Delhi has already commissioned its BRT signaling a transition to segregation of MRT to some extent. But, it will be at least another 2 years (read commonwealth games) for BRT to operationalize fully and even then our low floor buses shall continue to ply BETWEEN us despite DTP having a policy for the same.
Newspapers have stopped counting number of lives deleted by our lifeline Blueline, implying that none can take them to task. Focus of DTP seems to be more on challenging general public for not having No-Pollution Certificate on their brand new Euro-III compliant cars instead of their core job, i.e. Traffic Management.
Need of the hour is enforcement of meaningful segregation. Delhi has sufficient width available on its main arteries i.e. Ring Road, Outer Ring Road and other important roads to demarcate separate lanes for MRTs (Bluelines, Chartereds, RTVs etc), cars, 2-wheelers etc. Cars may require more lanes than Buses which can have single lane with overtaking strip at every km or so. Exact modalities for different stretches can be worked out once a team is assigned for the same.
Till that happens (and even after that) “lane driving” needs to be enforced strictly. Today, people talk about others driving rash and overtaking rashly or from wrong side. However, one should understand that this is being forced upon us. Even within city limits of 50 kmph, you’ll find people driving at speeds of 30 kmph on the rightmost lane leaving people behind them with no option but to overtake from left after couple of honks.
Obviously, the slow driver is either not aware that (s)he should be driving on left, or is scared of a Blueline scathing away (s)his door if (s)he drives on left or doesn’t give a damn about it. Now, our roads boast of more signs per square feet than you can find in the best malls. Why can’t they read rules of the lane driving (with sponsorer’s logos -MCD still makes money) and similar things? Why can’t DTP’s task force go all-out after a single mission that can drastically change the traffic scape of the city? I am sure people would oblige, because they need solutions, and would be more than willing to oblige if DTP can keep Bluelines within that Bus lane.
I am hoping for positive changes in this sphere and India ought to think in its stride as it is uniquely placed in such a situation which it might not have envisaged even as close as ten years ago.
The development of the nation is placing it at par with top nations in terms of Purchasing Power Parity and therefore, it needs to guarantee itself better infrastructure, even if it has to slog hard to get it.