Not just the Nano ...

Update: A witty, thought-provoking cartoon on congestion, & compelling facts: here

Center for Science & Environment says no all cars and puts up a strong case for public transport (buses), while the rest of India remains fixated on Nano. Apart from the fact that cars pollute way more than buses on a per passenger basis, its press note underscores two important points:

1) Cars consume too much road space to be able to satisfy India's transportation needs without painfully long gridlocks.

2) The cost of cars would be much higher if the govt were not to pamper them with heavy subsidies/tax benefits. The same holds for the "low-taxed diesel fuel in cars that emit deadly toxins".

This reminds me of a recent The Hindu (Bangalore) article, mentioning that HOHO, one of the two bus services launched by the BMTC last month (following ABIDe's recommendations) to improve public transport, has found few takers. The reason, as per traffic expert Prof Srihari, is that in posh areas like MG Road which HOHO covers, people are reluctant to give up their cars and travel by bus! This shows that, contrary to the popular notion, the problem lies more in our unwillingness to change, and increasingly less in the quality of the bus service provided.

It' high time we embrace BCW [Bus, Cycle, Walk] - green modes of transport - as the in thing, and resort to auto rickshaws & private vehicles as rarely as possible!

PS: Those of us, concerned about the higher travel time associated with buses, should note that with a mass adoption of buses and the consequent reduction in cars & autos, the waiting and journey time linked to buses will drastically come down, due to congestion-free roads.

up
10 users have voted.

258 Comments

Comments

mynk's picture

A strict no no to the Nano wud be taking it too far. The talks of using Nanos to replace the rickshaws is a possibility. But I think ricks running on CNG are better than any petrol driven vehicle (not sure bout nano). All in all we have no more room for cars whatever the aspirations of people might be. At least for regular commute people shud consider BCW!

pulkit's picture

If you disapprove of Nano, you are surely not gonna advocate for auto rickshaws, esp. in Bangalore where most of them are not CNG-run, where you can observe autos vomiting massive quantities of smoke with the naked eye. The point is about sustainable transport which includes neither cars nor autos.

Fuel efficiency is good, but may not be good enough given that we are fast approaching the tipping point w.r.t. climate change. Thus, we have to look at employing mass transport (buses, trains) and emissions (and energy) free means such as bicycles and walking. We might possess cars/motor-bikes, but we need to curtail their usage maximally. Like you said, at least for regular commuting (to office, music/dance/yoga classes, nearby shops, etc.), we can adopt green options.

whoami's picture

A picture says a thousand words, they say. Just look at the picture at the link below and it'll be obvious why CSE's view is correct...
http://www.carectomy.com/index.php/Urban-Planning/Speaking-in-Volumes-Ca...

delltechie's picture

lets be realistic. Its easy to write "It' high time we embrace BCW" but way tougher to have a plan to implement it. Take the cyclist problem in mumbai (with the metro work ) there is not place to even walk. The cost of the cycle is high, lack of repair shops,

mynk's picture

I think with byking such things become trivial. Join the Blr byking group (http://groups.google.com/group/Bangalore-bikers/) and u will see 800+ members many of who byke to work daily. In mumbai my fear wud be humidity more than anything else! ;) Many here believe in do it yourself and fix most issues with bykes themselves. Can connect you to such enthusiasts in Mumbai - I m sure there shud be many. For space I am sure u can always find a galli or such to the place ur going to. With the good transport by locals - u can actually invest in a good folding bike like strida! :)

delltechie's picture

Hi mynk

There is a cycle club http://cyclists.in/group/criticalmass . Mumbai does not have space for cyclist unless you cycle early morning or late at night . And head Bangalore is getting super congested too .

Strida http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strida is a good solution for places which cannot store bikes ,but the lane space issue needs another brain storm solution

pulkit's picture

@delltechie: Sure, there will be times and places when/where one can't commute via a cycle, but that's why it's being suggested that we mix and match it with mass transport - buses and trains (esp. in Mumbai). Besides, none of us is a fanatic. When the green alternatives are infeasible (say medical emergencies), we aint gonna frown upon people turning to a private vehicle or an auto rickshaw :). But, what happens many a time is the polar opposite - long (pleasure) drives as opposed to long walks/bicycle-rides. To round off, all what we are advocating is: To the best possible degree, travel green and healthy!

PS: Mayank has been a cyclist for half a decade and myself for about two years (though I employ buses for longer distances), so please don't take us to be simply theorizing - we are aware of the ground realities.

mynk's picture

I usually cycle on the foot path if there is one! :) Early morning and late night used to work well for me. Of late waking late so in the scorching sun it is a pain. Rains are a nightmare and with Mumbai's history I can imagine! :D

delltechie's picture

@pulkit as you are aware of the ground realities.
Here are a couple of queries

1) Can a bicycle be used on the roads which have the metro dev work ? is yes please name the road .
2) on which roads in mumbai can a cyclist cycle safely ( a few name would do)

Bus
1) In mumbai can a commuter get seating space after the 2nd stop ? Is yes please name the route
2) to use the bus to reach a destination which is says 30 minutes from the starting point. How early would a commuter need to start.compared to a commuter taking a rickshaw or car.

Quote travel green and healthy!
Could you clarify how traveling by bus or walking on the mumbai streets keep the commuter healthy. thanks

delltechie's picture

cycling on the foot path is a good solution. Sadly in mumbai there no longer is a footpath on many roads (either damaged or encroached) . :)

mynk's picture

Yeah it is not a good solution especially with the foot paths doing the mind boggling vanishing acts these days! :) Personally, I try not to be a nuisance to pedestrians and the bumps and such - I just think of it as a fun off road byke ryde! :)

Bangalore is sadly headed the Mumbai way - the decreasing tree cover is making it all the more difficult to continue byking...

mynk's picture

Every point you say is true and there is a lot of work that needs to be done to improve the infrastructure. Here at Bangalore we are having a meet with one of the IAS officers who has shown interest in Non Motorized Transport (NMT) - Mr. Gaurav Gupta. One of the earlier meetings initiated work of having a cycling lane at least in one of the areas.

I think in Mumbai there shall be similar initiatives to enforce sane urban planning. Perils of a democracy I guess - one needs to be aware and participate in all such things... :)

delltechie's picture

Glad you guys in blore are taking things forward . Do keep up posted on how the meeting goes with the IAS officers and what solutions or obstacles they put this will help us collage a strategy .
I hope someone in mumbai find out who to contact . Anything to do is transparency to find out who is in charge or what and who can really get things done .

quote enforce sane urban planning.
I remember 10 years ago how people used to talk about the roads and the green cover in Bangalore when they used to come back to mumbai. Things are improving but the town planners are still hand in glove with people who do not see the bigger picture.

whoami's picture

In my view there is a more serious deterrent to embracing cycling - safety. The average speed of vehicles on our roads and the traffic volumes are going up; cycling on city roads is pretty dangerous. Separate biking lanes are required. Actually roads must be completely re-designed to accommodate pedestrians and bicycles, and preferably provide dedicated bus lanes. Also, local trains must have a separate coach (or part of a coach) for people with bicycles. Buses too should welcome people with bikes.

In case you haven't heard about this already - they have a bicycle sharing program in Paris (see http://www.environmentalleader.com/2007/07/20/paris-bicycle-sharing-prog...). Maybe something similar in cities in India would help popularize biking once again.

pulkit's picture

@delltechie: I am put up in B'lore (Sorry, should have mentioned that earlier), so am unable to answer the Mumbai-specific questions, but will try to see if I can get someone to do that.

About buses, yes, one has to be prepared to stand for a part (sometimes the whole, if you are a male) of the journey; I never said otherwise. However, several times more people commute using buses than cars, in nearly every major Indian city, willingly and otherwise. Yes, it may not give you the kick that a fuel-guzzling sports car does, but it certainly is more than possible to travel in buses. I know many belonging to the higher end of the economic strata doing it.

The basic issue here is that of collective foresight: With a fast growing private vehicle (esp. cars) population (some 1300 new vehicles are registered every day in B'lore - hasiruusiru.org), regardless of your mode of transport, your commute time (thanks to the ever-rising gridlock) is inevitably gonna shoot up (It's already reached almost intolerable levels in several cities). No amount of infrastructure beef-up can ever catch up with a traffic population that doubles itself in 5 years. Now, a bus is estimated to consume less than 10% of the road space that a car consumes, per passenger. Imagine a mass transition to BCW, and your commute time in the bus, then, will be less than what you consume today in the car.

I guess you don't need any convincing about walking being healthy in general. I reckon you referred to the pollution aspect. That the car protects us from the pollutants in the air is a myth. As per International Center for Technology Assessment’s findings (http://www.nanoaction.org/doc/In-car%20pollution%20report.pdf), the air quality inside cars is often much worse, even with “windows sealed tight and their air conditioners set to high”. This well-researched presentation (http://www.hasiruusiru.org/joomla/images/stories/pdf/Presentations/Banga...) points out the same thing - substances proven to be detrimental, such as carbon monoxide, are present in much bigger volumes inside a car than outside. That aside, a clear reason why public transport (minus auto rickshaws) is said to be healthy is that it engages you in some physical work (such as walking a km or two a day, to and from the bus stop), keeping you fitter (the simplest instance being your improved digestive system) without spending any extra time/money. Of course, a cycle does the same to a greater degree.

Finally, like Mayank mentioned, this process of combating pollution and congestion is a two-pronged one:

a) push the authorities to make the infrastructure more conducive to cyclists and pedestrians, to further improve the bus system, to create (financial) deterrents for all (at least second) cars, etc. [Groups like ESG and HasiruUsiru do plenty of this, and we do support them whenever we can]
b) at the same time, create a mass adoption of the green ways.

Both have to be simultaneous, else the govt will find it infeasible to better its services, exemplified by the failure (heavy losses incurred due to a modest public response) of the Vajra and other high-end buses, targeted for Bangalore's well-to-do. Note the irony here: Some of these were brought in precisely to fulfill the public demand of better/more comfortable public transport! So, public apathy has to be dealt with; just seeking improved facilities ain't sufficient.

pulkit's picture

I second your suggestions. BRTS (Bus Rapid Transport System) is anyway being planned in several cities.

pulkit's picture

@delltechie: I mistakenly responded to your queries (esp. the ones about health benefits and commute time) in a new reply thread. Hope you saw it.

delltechie's picture

thanks whoami for the link to the poster on display in the City Planning Office in Muenster, Germany. Muenster .Yes the world would be a very different place if all govt offices where like the city of muenster.Not sure what the acronym CSE stands for would it be Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)?

delltechie's picture

Thanks for the clarifications . As we can see two cities different motivation levels/collective foresight from town planners.

Qupte " No amount of infrastructure beef-up can ever catch up with a traffic population that doubles itself in 5 years. "
well with the electric over head metros i do feel this would change for the positive . But the balance will tilt towards the negative with the implementation of the nano.

a) push the authorities to make the infrastructure more conducive to cyclists and pedestrians, to further improve the bus system,

Questions
a)Who to contact who can get things done?
b)What does the local man need to do to get change?
i)vote the right candidate? ii)petitions ? others

IMHO the diesel bus has the be phased out it it one of the biggest polluters along with the diesel trucks .over heard electric powered transport ,magnetic trains is the future

quote "mass adoption of the green ways." " public apathy has to be dealt with"
with less children playing in the streets these days compared to 10 years ago this will be uphill task.

Thanks for the In-car pollution report.pdf
Washington, DC: July 2000.
PM2.5 LEVELS MEASURED IN THE 1998 CARB STUDY

but the cyclists riding in good weather were exposed to a greater number of total particles and to the types of particles most likely to cause serious negative health effects [page 12]

Concentrations of benzene, a known carcinogen, reach levels inside automobiles nearly two-and-ahalf times higher than in the air breathed by bicyclists, according to a Raleigh, NC, study. [page 19]

from the above pdf details though outdated by 10 years and done in the usa . We can conclude everyone loses the walk/guy in the bus/car and cyclist.

whoami's picture

Yes, CSE is Centre for Science and Environment - www.cseindia.org. They come up with some good reports and also have good publications like Down to Earth which is likely to be of interest to most envirnomentally-inclined folks.

pulkit's picture

Right. I only meant that rode widening, fly overs, etc. would only provide a short-lived, minor relief - not a solution - given the alarming rise of private, unshared vehicles.

'Who to contact', 'how to make the system change' are questions I too have no definite answers for. I do know, as alluded to earlier, a few groups working on forcing these environmental concerns into the system (I'd be surprised if Mumbai doesn't have their counterparts):

http://www.esgindia.org/
http://www.hasiruusiru.org/joomla/index.php
http://www.cseindia.org/

If we can't match their level of political advocacy, we can at least promote their campaigns by physical presence (whenever possible) as well as through online means (petitions as you mentioned).

Recently, I have also come across a fair few examples of citizens teaming up with bureaucrats on green projects (such as waste management, the cycling lanes initiative that Mayank mentioned).

Extending your suggestion of 'voting right', one can exercise a quantum leap and plunge into administration/politics her/himself. Of course, it's not everyone's cup of tea, but, in my humble view, we (the youth) ought to give it a thought, in the very least.

Yes, no one escapes air pollution, whether in a car or not.

kishanbhat's picture

How bus travel frees up road space:
http://www.slideshare.net/das_gv/traffic-solution

Bus travel is healthy because you tend to walk more to-from bus stops. I think there is no place for a debate as to why we can still use private transport (except in case of emergencies). For ex - I walk for 40 mins everyday, something I would not do if I use private transport.

Pulkit makes a valid point - BCW, in the short term is a sacrifice of the drug that we're addicted to - "convenience and luxury".

About foldable bi-cycles, strida is Rs.22k. Rather look at swadeshi, easily affordable option like Avon carry me (costs Rs.2850) - http://www.avoncycles.com/boys-bicycle-display.asp?id=278

About auto rickshaws in Bangalore, most of them are 2 stroke, LPG guzzlers and their white-killer smoke's composition is not well known. It is sad to see people even boarding such auto's because they are causing health hazards to people, more so to children who are supposed to breathe 23 times more heavily than adults.

Politics, petitions, etc are long term goals. In the short term, more and more people should just switch to public transport. News debates should shift from "fuel price hike" to unclean buses, irregular timings et al.

I disagree about infrastructure to some extent. We need some lessons on efficiency - BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) fleet is all hooked up by GPS since ages and still they don't have a working tracking system. Because that's not high priority for them, they are kept busy with introducing new services to the elite (who are endlessly cook up excuses) by people like ABIDe and Prof.Sreehari.

Simple things like keeping the regular buses clean, accessible (via web and SMS tracking) will go a long way in solving today's traffic problems.

It seems public (including the administration) has forgotten to think of simple solutions to problems.

delltechie's picture

@kishanbhat as the slide share link is for Bangalore i cannot comment. maybe it will work there . But the nano will be distributed all over India and in mumbai i have posted questions as to why bus does not work .

No one know when the bus will arrive here . If it comes at 12.30 today it may come at 1.00 pm tomorrow.Standing here for a bus with another 50 guys waiting for the bus. And then the bus comes so full where only 10 guys can squeeze into the bus . then we wait for the next bus which could be any where between 15-30 minutes or even 5 minutes .This happens due to surprice traffic jams all over the road where there is no traffic police to clear up the clog.on top of that to practice the traffic cops switch off the traffic lights with their key (certain times not always)

if 2-3 buses come together then you can get place in the last bus (mumbai experience)

quote "About foldable bi-cycles, strida is Rs.22k.Avon carry me (costs Rs.2850) ."

Now lets imagine how many bus rides an individual can take for that amount. Or how many meals and bus rides he can take for that amount.
To get more users to switch to bicycle the price needs to come down to 250-500 :). can it ?

Questions will a wife allow her husband to cycle to work . People will shift to the nano for the sake of safety (we all know how many user who have motor bikes are told by their family every day to stay safe)

quote "About auto rickshaws in Bangalore, most of them are 2 stroke, LPG guzzlers "

Then like delhi there should be a rule to convert them all into CNG. Is anyone pushing to convert all buses and ricks in bangalore into CNG?

kishanbhat's picture

@delltechie, public transport de-congests any city. Only if people actively use it. This word needs to be spread, at the least by individuals like us.

The buses are crowded here too, and timings are not fixed. I'd have to wait sometime, but then I thinks its better than private transport. Can't afford relentless degradation of mother earth!

Cycle is a long term investment. I'd prefer to spend on a cycle than say a shirt/trouser/watch/mobile/etc. Thats my opinion.

I don't know where this discussion is heading, but my point for anyone reading would be - "there might be shortfalls in public transport, but most of the time its way too worthy than polluting more by using private transport". Of course these shortfalls can be addressed by forming committed group of optimistic citizens.

I wonder - when people take so much pain in doing lot of other things like visiting a crowded temple, or wait in a long queue to watch a movie, or wait at Big Bazaar cash counter, or spend hours on shopping and mobile talking, why not spend some time on contributing to a greener environment. "No pain, no gain".

About rickshaws, In my opinion they should not exist in the first place if seats are not shared. But yeah, CNG is a better option.

There are some things under a common man's control which he/she should do with immediate effect, like switching to BCW. Things like infrastructure, cycle price, bus frequency, converting to CNG are not under our direct control and participating/discussing about this is tangential topic - maybe best discussed in numerous citizen forums.

delltechie's picture

" Things like infrastructure, cycle price, bus frequency, converting to CNG are not under our direct control and participating/discussing about this is tangential topic - maybe best discussed in numerous citizen forum"

Hence the solutions is probably in the governments hand?
If a solutions is proposed and for a solution to work the issues surrounding the solution should be brainstorm and the idea/solution refined to make it practical and widely used which would included all the above variable.

"maybe best discussed in numerous citizen forums."
Could you clarify what this means. Do you want NGO post member to refrain discussing here ? It would be appreciated if this can be clarified .Thank you.

sejal's picture

@Delltechie: I think you are looping around. Everyone here (Pulkit, Kishan, Mayank) only want to point out that if you want a better and efficient transport system in a long run, you might need to sacrifice some short term comforts.

You may need to wait for bus for some time(but not always), but if you think a little bit further as to why it happens, you would figure out(which you already have) that the problem lies in the traffic overflow. Imagine, for one single day, all those car/two-wheeler owners getting rid of their cars and taking bus, I’m sure the buses will be able to operate with much more efficiency and pollution will be a lot less.

Now, one can argue that buses will not have enough space if everyone commutes by bus. I believe all the city transport corporation would have a periodic survey of pick hour traffic and will be able to manage with increasing the frequency of buses in a short while. 2-3 days back someone gave me such an example, where in it happened in one of the areas in Bangalore. BMTC had increased the number of buses seeing the amount of crowd going at a time. But that will not happen over night, everyone must have to keep some amount of patience for such long term solutions (considering the kind of population the state governments deal with in general, things might not be that smooth initially).

About your comment of wife not allowing husband taking cycle, I wonder why? May be many ppl would've adviced others not to take motor-bike, but we still see a huge number of motor bikes on the road! They drive not only unsafe, but pretty fast to prove harmful for others too! I think It's just a matter of trend that we follow. In my childhood I used to bike to school which was 3 kms away in heavy traffic. No one ever thought that I shouldn't be going on bicycle in those times. But now a days kids don't touch bicycles at all!

I know a few people who are also working with transport department for special lanes for bikes. Now they could reach at this point only because they were able to show the strength of bikers in the city, today we can easily say that there are at least 1000s of bikers (this count does not include those who have no choice other than bicycle), who will be able to utilize these lanes.

Same way, once it is showed that majority of people want to use public transportation, things will improve, in fact people themselves will be able to voice their concerns. At this stage people's apathy towards the cause, has also been one of the reason for the failure of buses like Vajra.

About the slides on Traffic solution, though they are made for Bangalore, with minor changes here and there, it can definitely be applied to any city in India. And with my experience in Mumbai, I can say they can very much be relavent to Mumbai.

Coming to your question as to where you can bike in Mumbai, from my experience of 1.5 years of stay in Bombay I think you can easily bike in Navi Mumbai. Alternatively you can also bike to bus stop/railway station, park your bicycle there and take the bus/train. If your office is within 5 kms range and local to the area where you reside, you can bike in most of the areas. And you can always bike to nearby glossary shop, gym, etc.

I recently wrote a post on my blog in some similar lines : http://sejswhirlpool.wordpress.com/2009/05/09/slow-death/

sejal's picture

@Kishanbhat:

"About foldable bi-cycles, strida is Rs.22k. Rather look at swadeshi, easily affordable option like Avon carry me (costs Rs.2850) - http://www.avoncycles.com/boys-bicycle-display.asp?id=278"

Did you say just 2850/- ??

Do you know anyone who has used this bike?

kishanbhat's picture

thanks for your post to bring things back on track!!

I've booked this cycle, will arrive in few days. If you think it makes sense, I can post a article here too.

pulkit's picture

@delltechie: The following is in no way aimed at you. I am sure you have the right intent and understand the gravity of climate change.

A lot of the people, who defend their fuel-emptying cars and ecologically careless lifestyles in the name of safety, engage in very thrilling and equally high-risk adventurous sports. Smoking is probably more likely to kill you than a 2-wheeler, but no (safety) questions asked there! Flying is no safe mode of traveling - there is plenty that can go wrong (Btw, it's ecologically immensely costly as well). Yet, I barely see anyone cutting back on that. I am sure there is much more to this list of 'risky' things we routinely, willingly and often happily do. My point is: the whole cycle safety argument is theoretically valid, but totally exaggerated. Yes, two wheelers (including cycles) obviously can't beat the car in that aspect, but cycles only carry a tiny bit higher probability of accidents than cars, and I (and 800+ other bikers in the Bangalore Bikers Group) have successfully averted that by sticking to the left, avoiding late night rides, etc. (one can also fit in a reflector). Cars, on the other hand, are *proven* to cause slow death, but we are too narrow-sighted and distracted to realize that. I would any day take a near-zero risk rather than subjecting myself to a whole host of inevitable heath issues down to pollution/climate-change, for the rest of my life (and those of the fellow and future human beings, towards whom I have an unmistakable responsibility).

pulkit's picture

A lot of the people, who defend their fuel-emptying cars and ecologically careless lifestyles in the name of safety, engage in very thrilling and equally high-risk adventurous sports. Smoking is probably more likely to kill you than a 2-wheeler, but no (safety) questions asked there! Flying is no safe mode of traveling - there is plenty that can go wrong (Btw, it's ecologically immensely costly as well). Yet, I barely see anyone cutting back on that. I am sure there is much more to this list of 'risky' things we routinely, willingly and often happily do. My point is: the whole cycle safety argument is theoretically valid, but totally exaggerated. Yes, two wheelers (including cycles) obviously can't beat the car in that aspect, but cycles only carry a tiny bit higher probability of accidents than cars, and I (and 800+ other bikers in the Bangalore Bikers Group) have successfully averted that by sticking to the left, avoiding late night rides, etc. (one can also fit in a reflector). Cars, on the other hand, are *proven* to cause slow death, but we are too narrow-sighted and distracted to realize that. I would any day take a near-zero risk rather than subjecting myself to a whole host of inevitable heath issues down to pollution/climate-change, for the rest of my life (and those of the fellow and future human beings, towards whom I have an unmistakable responsibility).

mynk's picture

Hi Paul this would be _the_ forum to discuss some of such issues. But it may help to find sites like praja.in local to Mumbai to bring about a positive change lest it turns out to be a pointless banter on this forum! :) I will check with frens in Mumbai for such initiatives. You could very well post a request on Tata Jagriti Yatra mailing list that you joined! :)

mynk's picture

This thread seems to have taken some direction! :)

Let me just clarify a few perspectives here (or at least try to! :D) I can see where Paul's remarks come from -

If you go to a European country (Americans are the best example of what not to do! :)) - you will notice excellent public transport. I will share my experience in UK -

1. When in Cambrigde I had to travel 16 miles to Cambourne to work. I used to travel by a bus though I could have hired a cab at the company's expense. I had to change the bus at town center. I cud read on the bus stop when the next bus was due to come. I cud plan my whole trip. I used to still be frustrated sometimes coz if I missed one bus it would mean a delay of 45 minutes.

2. London was the best public transport I saw. Vist http://www.tfl.gov.uk/ to get an idea of how accurate directions you can get from one place to another. You can plan your trip to the minute! :)

3. I saw several cyclists travel by trains (there were some constraints in tubes in London) but I wish I had bought a bike there - I would have saved a lot of money and it would have been really convenient. I could also leave my bike on a station overnight locked to a byke park with CCTV shooting 24 hours. The bykes still get stolen but the infrastructure is amazing! :)

4. In Eastleigh, things were a little bad and it might have made sense to have a private vehicle (byke if you could cycle the distance). The buses were not on time and service irregular on many occasions.

The point is the infrastructure cud be this good only after years of planning. The trouble in India is (any city for that matter) the motif behind much of the planning is profit for the people involved in the projects. With such short sighted plans we are not solving problems but making them worse.

I m jotting down a few things specific to blr - but can be adapted to other cities...

Stats:
In Bangalore 800 people die in road accidents. 400 of them are pedestrians. This is as safe as it is. About 6% of the casualties are bykers. So byking isn't safe either (not that other modes are much better).

A few facts -
1. The public transport in India in most places sucks!!! Indian roads are the most talked about world over for the kind of ordeal they are for people with 4 wheelers even.

2. Two of the avid bykers have met with bad accidents. One of them has steel plates in his ankles. He is back to byking for he is passionate about it. I don't expect _normal_ people to do it! :)

3. I have been almost mugged when 3 guyz attacked me on road. I m back to byking - a little more cautious. But I don't expect people to take the same risk.

4. Public transport is not very safe for women - many have shared experiences of being harassed.

5. A few joggers and bykers have been killed by drunken drivers.

6. Heard a lot of foreigners telling that it is a nightmare to cross a road.

7. Byking in the dust and pollution with ever depleting tree cover is a challenge I am not sure everybody is willing to take.

8. Yidah yidah ... blah blah...

This list can go on and many of them come as excuses for not using the green modes of transport in India. I don't think they are lame by any means. Yes people are indifferent to the situation but very few will change without a change infrastructure.

What can be done?

1. Set an example for others to follow. If 800 bykers can take a chance and choose to be a road kill than to be a heart patient why can't u? Don't push this - let people choose...

2. Do what it takes to save the trees in Bangalore - protests, sound planning via forums, working with govt officials, voting, contesting in elections, etc

3. People like Gaurav Gupta are there who are willing to help you with at least a few projects (in Blr) so spend energy in that direction.

4. Join forums like praja.in take up projects and ensure they are done in a sane way... People have done this successfully so! :)

Many more things can be done and are being done.

What is important is all facts should be laid down to people and they should be allowed to choose. A little effort to spread awareness will help also.

Paul: Your concern is highly appreciated. Hoping you can get in touch with the right people and work on bringing the much needed change in urban planning. We shall try and help you in whatever way is possible.

Others: Highly admire your concern - but don't let emotion blur facts. Try and accept the problems - so that you can help solve them. Your going green can only be an example for others to follow (which most may not!:)) - so instead of being irked try to make being green cool. If you speak to the bykers who have the maximum converts you will notice that they are merely seeding the idea of how cool byking is. People are over time changing! Asking people to be patient and be more responsible is clearly failing - else we wouldn't have such a pathetic turn out for elections despite the massive campaigns!!! :) "Walking for u might be exercise - I goto gym in my car and am better shape than u are!" What will you do with u such retorts? "Driving is a pleasure" "Owning a bigger car is my aspiration"...

An interesting point was brought forth by Gaurav Gupta in our discussion about byking lanes. He told we don't need to educate anybody in this room. We need to work together to get the people and the govt outside to understand what we know. Let's come up with ideas on that... :) He gave a good example of Delhi metro - he used it instead of going in his car. The metro is faster, air-conditioned, clean, etc but he didn't see anybody from the upper strata using the same...

On this thread I believe almost everybody is educated _enuf_ plus minus a few things - u get to learn new things (I thought LPG auto is better option and din't know CNG is something different! :)). So let's learn from who have been successful and try doing the same. A good example is -

http://www.slideshare.net/mynk/bangalore-cycling-inclusive-planning-31-j...

Let's make this discussion more useful by exchanging good urban plans some of which can be replicated in Mumbai or Bangalore or any place else. Some nice links have been shared - hoping to see more of those! :)

Phew - sorry for this long comment - interestingly these comments are competing with the original article! :D

pulkit's picture

There obviously are some issues with CBW (Cycle/Bus/Walk) as well as cars/autos/motor-bikes. What matters at the end of the day is: Which of the two offers the maximum gains, considering the palpable aspects as well as the broader picture (health, traffic, greenery retained, climate change, etc.)?

Besides, as pointed out in earlier, many of the concerns with buses/cycles are overblown. My wife and several other female friends have traveled in buses for many a year, and faced not one instance of trouble. In the last 3-4 years of bus commuting in B'lore/Hyd, I have not encountered anything like that myself either. Yet, I don't deny your point altogether. But, we gotta put things in perspective. Despite the attacks on women in pubs and cars, I see no one pressing the panic button while getting into either. Every day, a few houses get burgled in every city, but we hardly lose sleep over it, do we? All these, including bus safety, are remote possibilities and we very well know how to live with them. On the other hand, the rise in asthma and other illnesses caused by pollution is proven. Similarly, the already grave water crisis will, beyond a doubt, become absolutely devastating in a decade or so if we don't check climate change. Yet, we are scarred less by these grave certainties, and more by the outside chances!

As mentioned already, the elite of Delhi haven't quite fallen in love with 'cool' Metro. The same holds for Bangalore's high-end buses, many of which actually were recommended by citizen bodies. It is clear proof that you can attain precious little without public awakening. Systemic change must go hand in hand with individual change. They can't work serially - one after another, as that leads to a deadlock - the govt finds improved services (financially) unworkable due to lukewarm public responses and the public continues to link their indifference to the govt's inefficacy.

It took us several decades to become independent, so some amount of patience is inescapable. At any rate, we have seen a fair few positive changes around us already:

- Das's CBW slides - http://www.slideshare.net/das_gv/traffic-solution - have turned many an opinion around.

- Several people have responded positively to movies like "Huntimg Down Water".

- Quite a few friends are transitioning from autos to buses, esp. for longer distances.

- Our office was forced to create a bicycle stand a few months back, as demanded by the growing number of cycling-to-work employees.

- Wipro, led by its Eco Eye volunteer team, goes to the extent of water recycling and bio gas generation in some units.

The list can be expanded to include many more such facts.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead. If there is commitment and consideration in our actions and advocacy, the universe will conspire in our favour!

PS: The middle/upper class often don't vote because, in their eyes, all candidates are equally bad. With climate change or congestion, the effectiveness of the outcome of their actions can be easily established.

sejal's picture

'buses unsafe for girls' - is a totally exaggerated point. If out of 10000 girls traveling by buses 1-2 faced some hassrasement that can't be over-generalized. I have used buses almost in 7 major cities in India and I never thought buses will be unsafe for me. In fact they have a whole different section for ladies, if you be in there, you are totally safe. As a matter of fact, taking autos alone or hanging out late night in cars is far more dangerous and damaging(here you can get raped, in bus you get touched at best).

Yes, UK has good public transport, but do you think that we can compare a developing country like India to UK and apply their solution? Consider India's population and vehicle density here. No road infrastructure can cope up with this rate of private vehicle rise. Even the long term Metro plans won't yield much if the fascination with private/individual transport doesn't end. No Government initiative can go right without people's participation at the same time. For ex. even if you get Zero Waste Management system in Bangalore, if people are still not taking pain of segregating waste, it will fail big time, just the same way Vajra buses failed!

@Do what it takes to save the trees: The best way is to proactively work on individuals to solve the traffic problem stemming from rising private vehicles, so that no road widening is needed next and no trees are cut due to it.

vaishvittal's picture

Prof Srihari couldn't be more wrong. Car users will mostly remain car users. I don't know on what basis he is saying that people near MG road are reluctant about getting out of their cars. It seems like quite a silly statement to me.

To the above comment by Sejal: "Buses unsafe for girls" is not exaggerated. If out of 10,000 girls, one or two face harassment, you think that is overgeneralising it? So you want to wait for at least a 100 girls to be harassed and then respond?
I haven't travelled in buses in 7 major cities. I have travelled in Mumbai and Bangalore, not so much in Mumbai. In Bangalore, have you travelled by bus after 9 in the night? I wouldn't want to say 'try it sometime, then you will know'. Agreed, that there are ladies seats. But do you know that sometimes men sitting on ladies seats think twice about getting up from the seat, when there are many women standing in the bus?
I am not saying that autos or cars are safer. But buses aren't any better.
" in bus you get touched at best" This is the problem in India (I apologise for generalising here). We wait for something major to happen in order to take action or talk about it. So it looks like you are saying it is ok to be touched but not raped. So what's it going to take for you to say that it is unsafe to travel in buses? Should a girl be raped in a bus? Will you stand up and notice if only something as extreme and violent as a sexual assault takes place? Should we be ok as long as girls are just being 'touched' at best? Why do we have to have such mediocre expectations?

I would not let such 'touching' incidents come in my way of using buses. I refrain from using them only because of their irregularity. That's what is needed - a better organised bus system and I'll happily let go of my two-wheeler, no issues there.

kishanbhat's picture

Empathy:
I feel Sejal didn't mean mediocre. It was an honest attempt by a regular bus user to pull in people to start using the bus.
Being a regular bus user, the protocol for men is to use back door only. This has remarkably helped women commuters.

Irregular buses:
No second thoughts of improving bus system. Bus travelers should raise valid concerns in a louder tone, and things will change. But the trend nowadays is a shift to private transport, which does not seem to be helping the cause.

But as time ticks and we wait for change, "Mother Earth" is being continuously assaulted, harassed and what not.

Suggestion:
Using connecting buses reduce wait times, but this needs acquaintance of bus numbers and routes. You get this by being a regular. Also, accounting for some delay gets you to your destination on or before time. Actually, for me bus travel has given me more time in life, as while traveling I can introspect on my day (If I'm on 2/4 wheeler I need to concentrate on the road). It is a hidden time benefit.
http://www.bmtcinfo.com and http://btis.in/bus are good sites to know buses plying in your route.

Bus tracking:
Currently, buses in Bangalore are tracked for timings but the system is not being used efficiently. I always thought that bus commuters should protest in large numbers and this could be fixed, but I have failed to find critical mass.
http://btis.in/buses.htm for a while had helpful info, but it seems to be not working apparently due to co-ordination between BMTC and service provider.

SMS based bus tracking for commuters:
http://www.clinf.com/yi/ was a great start in 2007 to offer SMS based info for commuters to know where BMTC buses are. People could have planned their travel easily for just a SMS. But this service has stopped, again due to lack of co-ordination and understanding. BMTC has invested a lot on GPS devices for ALL their buses.

Other tougher solutions:
Car pooling is also a good solution, but it has its own problems and doesn't seem to persist for long.
http://www.commuteeasy.com is one of the sites that use good technology to network people.

If I tell anyone about some good initiatives by BMTC, even regular commuters would not know. Things need improvement and its a continuous process. The problem is when it just stops, instead of continuing to work (due to various reasons)

debamitro's picture

Warning : It's a long post and I am sorry for that.

I totally agree with Sejal's concern of global warming and problem caused by the increasing number of cars. And I also appreciate how Sejal and Pulkit always tries to be as eco friendly as possible in their day-to-day lives. Where I do not differ from the purpose of this discussion of "we should use public transport as much as possible and avoid cars", I do have a few points to say on the first paragraph written by Sejal - which I think is quite objectionable to me as a woman who commutes by public transport and have been abused quite some times and have friends who have similar experiences to tell!

"'buses unsafe for girls' - is a totally exaggerated point. If out of 10000 girls traveling by buses 1-2 faced some hassrasement that can't be over-generalized. I have used buses almost in 7 major cities in India and I never thought buses will be unsafe for me. In fact they have a whole different section for ladies, if you be in there, you are totally safe. As a matter of fact, taking autos alone or hanging out late night in cars is far more dangerous and damaging(here you can get raped, in bus you get touched at best)."

1. She is saying that 0.01-0.02% women face harassment in bus. But the news articles, studies, personal blogs say differently. I can not quote the exact percentage of women getting abused in bus but they are not this small either. I will try to get the exact figure in the mean time you can read the links which I have given at the end of this post.

2. For the sake of argument, if I agree that the number is that low, even then how could I say that "getting touched" or "getting some comments" is "okay" when it is not at all okay with me and so is not with many women - Blank noise blogs can give you a read for that on how women feel about it. It's downright humiliating for me - it makes me frustrated with myself -why I can not do anything to stop this happening to me - why are the other people traveling with me is so impotent to protest anything against the perpetrator - why ... why.. why????

So Sejal, if you (and your friends in "real Gurgaon") are lucky enough not to experience such thing or are care free enough not to mind "getting touched", or "getting comments" etc and only mind rape as the only form of sexual harassment worthy enough to give notice, please don't expect the same thing from every one. In the rush of converting every one to use public transport please do not undermine the harassment women face in public places and please acknowledge the psychological impact on them due to these incidents.
And by the way, I do not want to sound like "been there, done that" or "know better than you", but please read the case studies and researches done on this subject by various institutions. A simple search in google "women abuse india" will give you many leads.
To name a few - www.jagori.org, www.swayam.info,
There are various forms of abuse - even a stare which makes a woman uncomfortable can be taken as a form of abuse to a woman and she can report it to the police station. At present I myself am not very well aware of all of them. I only know what has happened to me and what makes me uncomfortable. If you are willing enough then both of us can study it together if you do not think "learning" about it is a time waste and "doing some action" is the only worthy thing to do.

3. "In the ladies section women are totally safe" - again I can share my experience (when I am sitting on the side seat) in the ladies section itself which contradicts your claim. And for those who are by this time thinking - that I must have wore "a provocative dress" and blah blah blah - I don't wear any provocative dress in buses ( was wearing salwar suit only and that too collared neck) and I don't make eye contact with any stranger either (learned a hard way) which could make it look like a provocative action from my side.
Besides, it's a whole new debate even in that case should a man abuse the woman - but lets not go into there.
And Vaishnavi quite rightly pointed out that men do not want to leave seats even if they are ladies seats. I have noticed it in Bangalore and Delhi and to a lesser extent in Kolkata.

4. One might think at this point - "ya ya all of this is known problem, but why should we say it loudly and openly and frighten people so that they don't use bus" - My responses to that is -
1. Do you think that saying it loudly and openly or hushing it away with wrong statistics and wrong information can convert a person to use bus? If he/she already knows it, the knowledge of it will always be a factor in deciding what mode of transport he/she will use. And if he/she doesn't know it the experience sooner or later will make him think. So why give him/her wrong information or tell him/her things which we don't know ourselves totally or undermine some big existing problem in doing so?
2. But even then - different people have different ways of communication skills - so if Mayank likes to convince people in his own way or Pulkit wants to convince people in his own other way - let them be - But just for the sake of arguing with each other and proving a point to each other and every one else please don't go to the extreme sides of "public transport sucks" or "'buses unsafe for girls' - is a totally exaggerated point". Because they have different meanings and are differently true to different people. eg For me harassment is true and for Sejal it's not "that true"

For all the people who have read this far - sorry for such a long post - but let's do use public transport - lets use buses if we love Bangalore and like it remain as green and nice as it is, and lets also be careful when we(particularly women) are in public places - as there are plenty of perverts roaming on the roads - lets give them a fight when something wrong happens to us or we see something wrong happening to other women. Lets not live in fear.

Here are the links -
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/20070924/delhi.htm#1
http://www.consumercomplaints.in/complaints/mumbai-bus-c26562.html
http://www.hinduonnet.com/2004/03/13/stories/2004031306720400.htm
http://www.nytimes.com/1989/03/19/world/india-women-feel-harassed-by-hin...
http://www.india-seminar.com/2008/583/583_kalpana_and_surabhi.htm
http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mag/2002/08/25/stories/2002082500180300...
http://www.indiatogether.org/2007/sep/wom-evetease.htm
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1236405
http://blog.blanknoise.org
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1045655.cms
http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article567.html

Peace,
Satabdi
ps: Don't have a login for myself , so using Debamitro's id.

sejal's picture

Yes pls do. Also see if you can take some more photographs after folding it. Do you need to dismental it or you can actually fold it?

sejal's picture

Another site which might help - busbus.in

sejal's picture

Well, I take back the impulsively written stats, but not the statements!

I never understand how we can read so much into small matters and forget the big picture. If you count eve-teasing as a safety measure, girls aren't safe anywhere in India (may be in the world too). But will you really stay confined inside your house because of that? What sounded incredibly dumb to me was, asking girls not to take buses because of this blown up "safety concerns", where as buses are one of the safest (harassment aside) places simply by virtue of the presence of a crowd. Yes, you may get touched, it is a harassment, but you got the best chance to give back one to the guy since you are amidst a crowd. Plus, you can always keep safety pins, paper spray etc., if you really feel threatened.

Satabdi: Let us not conclude anything from half-done private discussions and state in a public portals!

I never meant that getting touched may not disturb anyone or it's not wrong. Yes, it is not acceptable and whoever does that, must be punished. But is it really that big a deal for us that will make us stop from going to public places? Yeah one should not wait for a rape to happen, but just fearing that you may get raped, you can't stop going out the places! One also should not start equating anything and everything that comes under eve-teasing to being raped. In stead take things head on and deal with them, in every way possible. Running away is not a solution to any problem. And just coz you faced one of the rare incidents of harassment in ladies section, it doesn't generalize ladies section as unsafe!

Vaishnavi: Just answer to a question to yourself: How many times in the last one year have you traveled by buses? Out of them, how many times were you denied a ladies seat by a guy? In how many of those cases, did you approach the conductor and the guy still bullied away?

"That's what is needed - a better organized bus system and I'll happily let go of my two-wheeler, no issues there." - Well that's the only paradox which is being talked about here. Unless you and others start using the system, it will not be organized. Buses are irregular coz they face a lot of traffic jams to be able to be on time. Once you solve that problem, others are just a small matter.

sejal's picture

@Vaishnavi: To answer your another question:

"In Bangalore, have you traveled by bus after 9 in the night? I wouldn't want to say 'try it sometime, then you will know'."

Well, traveling after 9, is unsafe for girls almost everywhere, so why single out buses? (In fact, there are several cases, where it has proved unsafe for guys too.) Even after 9, I've found the buses quite filled enough to be worried, but yes after 10, one has to go with a group.

[Just coz you asked, yeah I have traveled several times after 9, occasionally around 10:30, but that's certainly not advisable :-)]

mynk's picture

Yet another attempt - Point I m trying to make -

DO NOT:
1. keep facts from people
2. overlook the problems if you wish to come up with a good solution
3. waste energy educating each other - when u cud convert _people_! :)

If the above are clear don't bother reading further! :)

So this comment is not gyaan - merely an attempt to get back to the original problem -

I think the Cartoon depicts the problem statement remarkably well - "People are simply hoping that someone somewhere will wake up to the call and things will fall in place for them, without them having to do anything" - a much uglier version! :)

How do we tackle the same - many many ways - everybody here on this thread is more or less aware of lesser and bigger _evils_! :) Just that some solutions work better for some and not at all for others.

I think an ideal way would be to run surveys on people and find out - given a choice - why they want to use a car when BCW is healthier n _greener_ way of life. I don't know if there is any such survey already in place. If we get the same we can hope to get convert the Car users - the premise of the problem at hand by fixing the things they see wrong.

For byking I have approached 100+ people easily. That forms a decent sample set I guess - here are the typical reasons:

1. Safety is the biggest concern without any doubt - no byking lanes, mugging, etc.
2. I sweat and can't get to office in a mess, no shower at office, etc.
3. It may slow me down - the distance is intimidating - say 30 kms
4. Too much dust and pollution

I think those interested can follow this link -
http://www.biketraffic.org/btwg/noexcuses.htm

How to deal with these _excuses_:

Give good examples of people doing it for a long time and benefiting from it each day. There are ample in Bangalore - m sure there wud be as many in any other place.

What would sell - "you know what this good for the environment - lesser evil and all" - reaction "Hey yes what u r telling is important" but I remembered something important - I need to take my dog for a walk!" Instead how bout selling - things people crave for -

a. Good health - I can't think of anybody who doesn't want to stay in shape without having to spend extra _time_

b. Create time in your 24 hour day - In city you end up reaching destination faster on a byke - one of the avid bykers takes 90 minutes in his car - 50 minutes otherwise - one way! He gains 80 minutes each day with a neat workout! :) Need I say more...

c. Can't handle dust/pollution - well by using a car u r making things only worse for urself and generations to come! :) I have hay fever and my doctor told if u expose urself to allergents to build immunity. I think I can stand the same today without a mask better than most people! Worked for me might for u. If not use masks there are good ones in the market. I have see not many buy the fact that u inhale more in car - somehow... :)

d. Have u heard of the traffic rants? Imagine if people switched to byking how much more space and so much lesser stress! :) Good for health n congestion taken care of :)

e. Environment - not many care about it else we wudn't be in such a mess that we are in but it just might help - last night one guy surprised me by telling how he thinks if he byked the pollution and traffic problems cud be all solved! I was speechless in a pleasant way! ;)

These are the ones I hv seen successful 'convertors' use. The latest I bumped into -

http://lighterfootstep.com/2009/05/twelve-reasons-to-start-using-a-bicyc...

U can find ample information in the comments section of the post -

http://ngopost.org/story.php?title=Why_bother_Just_cycle----1

These work very well even if you mentioned that the roads are bad, it ain't safe, etc. With each such remark if u cud give the alternative which makes sense -

Road kill or a heart patient - the choice is yours! :)
Game for an adventure sport - try byking on blr roads - no less of a thrill...
Worried bout mugging/molestation join Kalari, etc Kick some a**! Solves a lot of problems moral policing inclusive! ;)

But hiding facts will do more harm than good (point being tried to convey for a long time now). I wud not forgive myself if someone took my advice and got killed/mugged on road - if I have told all possible problems - the person is more careful and takes advice seriously - "invest in a good helmet"! :) When I tell people I got attacked - I also tell them that I have joined Kalari! - facts and the solution chosen! If I were to hide the fact I was beaten - I am CONNING the person into the notion - thinking of the BIGGER good - not sure many wud approve of it! :)

That takes care of byking which I can speak right from my limited experience with city commute. Now let's take up

Walking (or Jogging): I saw a lot of people jog to work in UK (very impressive). Wonder why I don't see any in Bangalore - guess that's a no brainer - needs no survey! :) Walking is really not an option if we are talking distances over 2-3 kms. Maybe if clubbed with other means but not by itself.

Problems:
1. The time taken for a walk wud put off a lot of people.
2. Safety - 50% of people in road casualties are pedestrians.

No amount of talk is going to help here I think we need to work with the government to ensure there is a footpath in the least. I have nearly run into people myself in the night on really wide roads with no lighting. At least 70 deaths registered after the inauguration of the international airport.

Now instead of ignoring these disturbing facts/statistics it would help if we worked to get them fixed. Asking people to start is a good thing and possibly much needed but if they don't remember they have good reason for it! :)

If people can't walk to a bus stop how will they use a bus - a problem that needs to be tackled and well.

Now come the buses. I have really no status or a survey. That would really help - let's take guesses

1. Uncomfortable - "The condition of buses are really bad, too crowded, people smell, extremely tiring, etc" Common problems stated by the 'elite' - if true why are air conditioned volvos running under occupied - causing loses for the BMTC.

2. Harassment to women - I should have completed my remarks - better late than never (how cliched!!! huh!:)). If that was a reason for women not to use the buses then the pink buses would be a success - they are under occupied again. A survey/research would do good - denying the problem or making guesses around it will not help! :) (It is another discussion whether it is acceptable or not but not in the interest of this thread in any way!:D).

I can't think of any bigger reason than connectivity and time. At least that's the one for me. If I had to travel to office daily (other commute is not so important I think considering the problem at hand) - I found some BIG10 buses moving from MG Road to Krupanidhi college. Pretty comfortable and usually not crowded (under occupied I wud say). I can carry my favorite book to read but... I need to walk to Krupanidhi college is 1km from my place and the nearest stop from my office is another 1km. More importantly I can't be sure what time the bust will arrive - I can continue reading my book and the walk will be good exercise. But I can read in the comfort of my home and go to a gym if I use a motorbike to reach in 30 minutes as against an hour in the bus. My solution use a byke and pedal ur way - takes 20 minutes with a decent workout! :)

Not the same problem for others definitely not the same solution. The problem:

1. Unpredictability - many sites have been mentioned. What would be good for the elite (who can afford net access) is to tell the location of a bus using the wasted GPRS systems.
Irrespective of traffic jams you get a fair estimate.

2. Bus stop - I should be able to see what time my next bus arrives and such info. Doable with the existing infrastructure - infact, Mr. Muralidhara had told of the sms service which he used actively has now stopped.

If I were to invest my time and energy - I wud rather work on these workable solutions before I pushed people (pushing pedal is much easier! ;)) Again listen to the problems of people with an open mind so that u can help fix the problem instead of asking them to be patient. We need to be patient ourself I think. This is purely my opinion/perception! :)

Car pooling is not the best solution but like is popularly said - A LESSER EVIL - mebbe help promote that. My brother won't take an all comfortable infy bus to E-city - seat is assured and pretty timely (at least departure!:)). He uses a car pooled with others - 20 minutes instead of an hour - more time with the 4 year old at home. If you want to convert u better have a good solution! :)

I like the post by Bhadri -

http://ngopost.org/story.php?title=Going_green_should_be_easier_to_cause...

Will not dare tread into Rickshaws!!! Hoping we can work towards -

http://ngopost.org/story.php?title=Solar-Powered_Electric_Cycle_Rickshaw

Another project for those with the zeal and energy! Put all the enthusiasm to good use... :)

pulkit's picture

@Debamitro/Satabdi: I know you guys to have been using buses regularly for years (now plunging to cycling as well) and can't admire that enough, along with several other green ways of yours.

The problem of female harassment (touching, etc.) is actually attributed to crowds and the cowardice of the bystanders (as you rightly mentioned). Sometimes, the victims are also too shy to speak out, even though they have the safety net of the crowd around. So, let's not blame buses for this, as it happens elsewhere too. Moreover, you and I both know about women having been chased and molested (which is a far more serious issue than harassment) in cars/autos. But, some people conveniently overlook these facts.

I have yet to come across a statistic that tells me the ratio of the number of harassment instances in the bus / total number of days traveled put together for all women. Just citing an article that contains a few anecdotes doesn't convey anything. If in 5 years of regular bus commute, if a woman encounters one minor untoward incident, by all counts, that's negligible. What's significant is the way women, in general, are being looked at and treated, which is a much broader social issue, independent of buses.

At any rate, I am unwilling to believe that today's females are so fearful that they will abandon buses because of this minuscule "concern". Most gals I know would stand up and give the trouble mongers quite a mouthful, if not more :)

We are not undermining any problem, we are just saying that just because one has an issue with buses for whatever ulterior reasons, he/she can't exaggerate/misplace the facts. A number of houses get broken into every week in Bangalore, but we don't ask everyone to pack up and move out, do we? You just try to be careful.

It's saddening that some people get carried away and scare people away from much-needed alternatives like buses, using totally unsubstantiated, overcooked points. What's requited, instead, is to facilitate a broader understanding involving issues and interconnections people often miss out on, such as how Bus+Cycle+Walk helps not just with pollution, but also in traffic and greenery. Then, they will themselves realize how these gains comfortably overshadow concerns such as the unlikely-but-true possibility of harassment, which can be easily dealt with, as Sejal mentioned. Of course, If you have any suggestions to tackle some of the the minor concerns, you can always share them at the end, retaining the positive outlook of the communication.

mynk's picture
mynk's picture

Mr. Gaurav Gupta had mentioned a very nice initiative in Singapore - ESP & ESC - certificates that one needs to buy along with the car to be able to use it. The certificate would have good resale value depending on the area of the city one wished to drive to. A $20K car would actually cost $40K on raod.

Penalizing people for using cars is being used in many many countries. In London people need to park their cars really far from offices. People simply are discouraged to use personal vehicles. Devoted lanes for car pooling discourages people to travel by themselves.

In India we have a design based on the comfort of 4 wheelers with no thought whatsoever for pedestrians, bykers or NMVs. I was wondering how is it that I am able to claim a tax rebate of Rs 72000 at my work for a car maintenance but not a pie for my byke. Our tax money is being used so unscrupulously for road widening and such projects which will make things worse.

The bottom up approach working with people is a good idea but a top down approach will definitely be more effective. Policy makers need to be educated - now that's quite some challenge! Anybody game for that? :) Open a new project in praja.in and get it to work if you have the energy and time.

Really admire the work done by Murali with the byking lane around Madiwala.

mynk's picture

Finally got a site in Mumbai for the purpose -

http://www.urbz.org/index.html

Hope this helps! :)

pulkit's picture

We are again circling, so wouldn't repeat myself too much (Please glance through the earlier comments), but just say that no one here ever tried to hide anything - It's well known that wherever there is too much crowd, women need to be a bit vigilant, and we never said otherwise. Contrary to that, we were left wondering as to why you inflated and misplaced the facts :). Plus, as important as educating others is, it's no less crucial to question our own presumptions and be willing to discuss openmindedly. Else, we will convert people the wrong way and do either no good or more harm than good.

1) Let's not distort the facts to undermine something just because we aint fans of it.
2) Your friend may consider walking a dog worthier than global warming, but he/she clearly doesn't represent either India or the world. Yes, there is a fair amount of apathy around right now, but we are working on it. Let's not give up.
3) I have no qualms about projecting something (say cycling) "cool" or "fun". To get a new person on board, it could be really effective. But bear in mind that these are very fluid concepts. Cycling is cool to you today, but not tomorrow when your friend buys a killer motorbike! That's when an understanding of how cycling eases climate change, congestion, etc. comes to the rescue. That's why it's myopic to brush aside global warming as an "uncool" topic. Instead, we need to find new ways of showing how devastating its consequences can be - more & mightier natural disasters, aggravation of the already serious water crisis and many more.
4) A large scale transformation can only happen when people do the right things, but also (at least) appreciate the "right reasons" - climate change, breathing illnesses (20% of India suffer from those) due to pollution, etc. Otherwise, you would find that your "convert", that cycles some 6 kms a day, goes for long drives every weekend, eats imported meat, owns the biggest TV/AC and uses a massive shower panel for bathing - because all those things also sound "cool" to him/her. Until people realize that the damage of climate change/pollution is far more severe than all these petty comforts, you will only make/witness delta improvements.
5) I am fully with you that going green should be made as simple as possible, and we all should work towards it, but that can't be a prerequisite. Else, it would be way too late. Both the system and the individuals have to adapt to the menace of climate change simultaneously.
6) Most pedestrians meet with an accident while crossing the road or walking in the night on roads with speedy traffic, am I right? So, I don't see any issue in walking to/from the bus stop from/to the house (which is usually off the main road). The magic number of " 50%" needs to be dissected carefully, else it just misleads like this - It anyway doesn't say how many walkers die per day, which is the most critical number.

pulkit's picture

@ the 'conscience' point made in an earlier comment: You know what I'd never forgive myself for? That I missed the opportunity of discussing with more and more people about commuting by bus (and cycle), which led to more pollution/carbon emissions, which in turn caused more asthma suffering, more deaths in natural calamities (Global warming is proven to stimulate more and stronger natural disasters), and climate-change-intensified water shortage agonizing millions [http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2238684/un-half-world-p....

kishanbhat's picture

No wonder public needs a lot of pushing. Even with world class infrastructure in Singapore, London etc civic administration has to impose a deterrent tax! Ofcourse this can change with current status symbol (big bikes, cars, SUV's) shifting towards BCW.

kishanbhat's picture

Lets take a simple task first:
Read http://bangalore.praja.in/blog/murali772/2009/04/09/yi-did-not-fail-it-w...

If we manage to get bus tracking to work, we can immediately manage lot of bus-converts. Lot of people are stuck on the excuse of irregular bus timing and this needs to go.

Pulkit, Sejal, Mayank, I'm expecting all of you to contribute to this praja.in post. Its time for some action!!

kishanbhat's picture

Excellent survey is ready. We can avoid taking too many sheets by accommodating questions in rows and columns.

http://praja.in/blog/kbsyed61/2009/04/24/bmtc-survey-questions-draft-review

We should do this survey along with spreading awareness on the amount of lung and health disorders caused, amount of fuel and country's cash wasted, global warming, etc
Target: Malls, M G Road, coffee shops, etc.

bamboosf's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosx's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosx's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosx's picture
vqcxblkcwx's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosx's picture
bambooso's picture
bamboosx's picture
bambooso's picture
Allegrasss's picture

Accupril

bamboosf's picture
bamboosx's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosx's picture
bambooso's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosh's picture
bambooso's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosc's picture
bamboosc's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosc's picture
bamboosx's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosc's picture
bamboosc's picture
bamboosj's picture
bambooso's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosc's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosc's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosc's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosx's picture
bamboosc's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosx's picture
bamboosx's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosx's picture
bamboosx's picture
bamboosy's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosx's picture
bamboosy's picture
bamboosy's picture
bamboosx's picture
bamboosy's picture
bamboosy's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosj's picture
bamboosx's picture
bamboosy's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosy's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosx's picture
bamboosy's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosy's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosn's picture
bamboosn's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosn's picture
bamboosn's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosn's picture
bamboosb's picture
bamboosb's picture
bamboosn's picture
bamboosb's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosn's picture
bamboosb's picture
bamboosb's picture
bamboosi's picture
bamboosi's picture
bamboosn's picture
bamboosb's picture
bamboosi's picture
bamboosi's picture
bamboosb's picture
bamboosi's picture
bamboosi's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosn's picture
bamboosb's picture
bamboosi's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosi's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosb's picture
bamboosi's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosi's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosh's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bambooss's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bambooss's picture
bambooss's picture
bamboosu's picture
bambooss's picture
bambooss's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosu's picture
bamboosu's picture
bambooss's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosr's picture
bambooss's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosu's picture
bambooss's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosr's picture
bambooss's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosn's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosr's picture
bamboosn's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosw's picture
bamboosn's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosn's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosf's picture
bamboosv's picture
bamboosv's picture

Add new comment