Friday, July 12, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Environment Day Initiatives Part 2

Dear All, 

Selfies in the Bus

I know its been quite sometime for the World Environment Day, but I believe we cannot spend even a single day without depending on our environment.

In my last blog I appealed to all of you to use the public transport for a week in June and post a selfie of yourself as an action promoting the use of public transport for mitigating emissions caused due to the use of private vehicles. 

I am glad that the idea was appreciated, but only a few people sent me their selfies, many did tell me they tried using the bus but couldn't take the selfie, some people use a bus for daily commute but are not very comfortable with taking selfies. Few people filled in the feedback form and highlighted some issues with the bus. Seriously a BIG thanks to all I feel that everyone would like to use the public transport if we are able to fine tune the basic issues. It would be a win -win for all. We will have less traffic, less polluted air and less stressful life as driving your own vehicle is really stressful. 

And hats off to all the people who HAVE to or USE buses for daily commute accepting all the issues. I am a public transport user too but I use varied options depending on the time like six-seaters, carpool, autorickshaw or the bus. I should mention that the new Tejaswini buses are quite clean, spacious, in good condition and seem safe for travelling, however the number of buses are few, and they ply on selected routes only. I have also seen the new CNG buses ply on roads but haven't used yet it. However, our old regular PMPML buses, have a hell lot of issues. Every bus is in a sub standard form, windows are broken, seats are sometime broken, shabbily maintained emitting heat and smoke especially when you are about to get down  and you have to wait near the drivers seat, you can feel the heat waves...Apart from this the buses are overloaded beyond its capacity making it vulnerable to accidents on one hand while some buses are running empty at times. If this is not enough, the bus drivers are rash making the whole bus travel super adventurous. As per our online feedback form, for any given route the bus condition has been the major issue highlighted by the commuters. And yes, how can I forget, timing. Timing is another issue which I feel is the most critical component because of which one feels the need to use his/her private vehicle. I think we all can just go on listing the issues endlessly with our public transport.

Its important to note that we are talking only about the buses here, however the problem is bigger, the entire transportation network needs to be revamped. The roads and their condition, walking ways, cycling routes, metros, accessibility for all, affordability, safety, convenience, last mile connectivity etc. The GOOD news is a lot of work has been done and is in process in this direction, we have the Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) for PMC and PMRDA now, which is a good guide for assessing and tracking the status and success of each mode of transport. But the BAD news is its implementation is a mammoth task. A lot of organisations, institutions are working closely with the local bodies in order to get it on ground. But this will take some time, hopefully we will have better transport system in future. 

What we can do for now is to get ourselves equipped with such plans, documents, information and ask our local corporators or politicians about them. We need to check if they are aware of such plans and demand for its implementation. After all people's pressure is required for getting things done and we as conscious citizens can make this happen. So lets advocate for such plans, support organizations that promote these plans and use the public transport while we reduce usage of private vehicles (of course where ever possible). 

In case if you need more information on CMP or organisations working in this field. Please write to me

Pournima Agarkar. 

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