Mass Rapid Transit Solutions for the city

There was the recent announcement by the Tatas that their Rs 1 Lakh car (it will actually cost more than Rs 1 Lakh but will be substantially cheaper than any other car) will be launched in three years or less. Reason for cheer? Maybe not. Look at the state of our roads. They are already choked with traffic and can’t really afford to take on more. The roads in the inner city are narrow with little room for expansion. More and cheaper cars are not the answer, Mass Rapid Transit Solutions are.

In cities like New York, Tokyo, Sydney or Paris, you don’t need to own a car. Or even Singapore for that matter. Millions of people commute into the city and out of it everyday using mass rapid transit systems. New York has the ‘subway’, Paris’ le ‘metro’ and London the ‘ tube’. The bus system is organized to feed people from the suburbs to the train stations and back. While in the city, the buses run from the stations to the important parts and back. Many cities also have a ring route bus that travels around the city centre from station to station- sometimes free. This system is more efficient, cheaper, comfortable, less polluting and takes the load off the roads.

This is the kind of solution Chennai needs, not more cars. The good news is that discussion on the Metro rail projects are progressing, with the option of both an underground rail section and overhead corridors under consideration. The feasibility report has identified three corridors: Tiruvottiyur to the Chennai Airport along Anna Salai over a distance of 31.54 Km. Chennai Beach to Koyambedu along Poonamallee High Road, a distance of 13.54 KM. And (hold your breath) from Tiruvanmiyur to Ambattur Industrial Estate via Lattice Bridge Road, RK Mutt Road, Luz Church Road, Eldams Road, Theagaraya Road and the Inner Ring Road. Other than a short stretch underground, the proposal under consideration is for elevated railways over these main road corridors.

Whatever the plan finally chosen, it’s pretty clear that even what has been outlined above would take an enormous load off the roads. Anybody who travels on the elevated MRTS system to Tiruvanmiyur knows how clean, simple and quick the system is. Imagine such a network around the city! There’s also a proposal to extend one line from the MRTS at ground level up to Mahabalipuram. This would take a lot of the load off the ECR, and make a visit to Mahabs simpler, cheaper and quicker. Whatever the plan, the key is quick and efficient execution, unlike the present day MRTS which has taken many years and is still incomplete.

So, no thanks Mr Tata, we don’t really need more and cheaper cars. Instead why don’t you start an infrastructure company to build and run world class suburban rail systems in our metros?

5 Comments so far

  1. Peter (unregistered) on July 16th, 2006 @ 8:14 pm

    Your ancestors carved temples out of solid rock in the 8th century… here we are in the 21st… you can do it!

    I rode the Delhi system … not as awesome as the Washington DC system, but excellent service.

  2. shek (unregistered) on July 16th, 2006 @ 9:11 pm

    Mr.david,do u own a car,in the first place?You can write about rapid transit systems only if you yourself are a commuter.It wont make sense if you own a car and then write about traffic problem in the city.Remember,you are also contributing to the trouble.

  3. Anand (unregistered) on July 17th, 2006 @ 1:39 am

    Shek: Do you know what ad hominem is? Look at it this way: What David discusses is the benefits of a mass rapid traffic system. If you want to discuss the merits and demerits of this argument, please do. If you want to talk about if such a system, or corridors David discusses is really going to solve traffic problems or not, please do as it is well within the ambit of this discussion. The fact of whether David does or does not posses a car has nothing to do with the validity, or even the invalidity of his case for a transit system. Do you get it? That is an entirely different argument whos premise is different. In your comment, you are making a quality judgment about David, and not about his argument. You get it now? Therefore, you cannot diss his argument by dissing David. If you still need clarification, I can point you to a couple of people I know who are much better at elucidating the logical fallacy to you; except one of them will make you cringe while telling so. Else follow this link.

  4. Chandler64 (unregistered) on July 17th, 2006 @ 5:12 am

    Yes. Yes. Yes. surely Madrasi’s deserve ..

    ‘MDRAC’-Moving Dravidians Rapidly Across Chennai

  5. Ravi (unregistered) on July 18th, 2006 @ 8:12 pm

    Wonderful post, David. I passionately believe (& have written on this topic a number of times) that its time that India builds world-class AND affordable mass-rapid transit systems. I’m the greatest fan of the Bangalore Metro (hope you’ve seen my writeup here on its inaguration by the PM) here and can’t wait for its arrival. Though I’ve not experienced the Tube & at NY, I’ve ridden the ones in Delhi and Singapore and they are such a pleasure!

    @Anand: Thanks so much! I wonder if Shek’s got the point?!

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.