Quo Vadis, Mumbai?

Quo Vadis, Mumbai?

Airport lounges are good places to catch up on reading, so there I was reading an article on how the vehicle population in Mumbai has increased 50% from two to three million over the past five years. With road length almost steady at 2000 km, it means the vehicle density per km is up from 935 to 1500 vehicles per km.

Usually, I prefer to read the local newspaper of wherever am headed so I request for The Straits Times on board the aircraft, which curiously had an article that from 1st February'18, you cannot buy a private vehicle in Singapore. Two cities, same problem, so different responses.

The fact that they were rationing permits called certificates of entitlement and auctioning them each year was well known. In fact the last auction went for nearly $50K for a small car permit for ten years. Now it has reached a zero point. No more addition of new vehicles on Singapore's roads. Period.

To move to this point, over the past six years the Singapore Land Transport Authority has increased rail network length in this city-country-island nation by 30% and will further invest $28 billion in rail improvement and Bus subsidies over the next five years.

We seem to be oblivious of the crisis in front of us. The pollution, the wait in traffic and deterioration in the quality of life have reached endemic levels in our cities but we are doing nothing to alleviate it. We are waiting for a disaster and when that happens we will as usual respond with a botched up reactive plan not fully thought through.

Every day of delay in putting a plan to end this is adding 700 new vehicles on the roads. Quo Vadis, Mumbai?

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