Friday, July 29, 2016
Beijing’s solution of rationing license plates is NOT the answer to Colombo’s Traffic Problem.
If one reads the link which refers to all the means by which people try to circumvent the rules in Beijing to be able to drive there, you can be assured that the Sri Lankan driver or car owner will be just as if not more devious than that in finding ways to circumvent these rules. Even the congestion charge, introduced to reduce vehicular traffic in Central London, we see, has been violated by the Sri Lanka High Commission in London.
So how do you solve the problem in Colombo? First what is the problem?
It takes longer and longer for commuters including school children to come into Colombo every day. It is not uncommon for those living 25km outside of the Colombo Municipal Limits to take 150 minutes to get to work each way every day!
If you agree that it is simply unacceptable, you must have a practical method to reduce commute time, as that is ONE goal, whilst at the same time, reduce the number of vehicles entering Colombo, which will assist in achieving the former goal, which will in turn reduce the pollution level in Colombo, which is particularly harmful to the children who go to school there.
The light rail option, whether good or bad will take at least 10 years before it shows results, by which time most of the present commuters will be dead, one way or the other! Then the Children will suffer life threatening illnesses and the congestion will get worse, leading to daily gridlock that costs the economy Billions a day, and will NEVER achieve the MAGOPOLIS objectives laid down.
A short term solution MUST be found within weeks not months. Import 100 LNG full ac buses, give them ambulance level access, with just 4 stops within Colombo City limits. 10 each for 10 principal routes into Colombo, that charge a flat Rs50 no matter where one gets in or gets off, and a prepaid card with automatic deduction at entry will be the norm, which effectively makes them cashless.
In addition have a Rs50 charge for each motorbike, three wheeler, car or van and Rs100 for truck or bigger entering Colombo, between 6.30am and 10.30am 10 main entry points. Of course free for Buses, and Vans with more than 10 people in them. This money collected (after paying for the administration labor) will go for purchasing an LNG fleet into Colombo, which will replace, highly polluting diesel buses on short distance routes into Colombo. JUST do it – you will be surprised.
Construction of 10 multi story car parks and bike parks in the outskirts should commence immediately from where the bus service starts. They must hold at least 5,000 vehicles apiece and have ease of access without congestion. They too will have a flat parking charge of Rs50.
This will see an immediate reduction of 50,000 vehicles during this 6.30 to 10.30 window, enough to halve the commute time at a stroke. Try and CAP that Experts!