Concerned over the hardships faced by Mumbaikars due to the inefficient public transport services, urban planners and transport experts want the government to invest in building an efficient public transport network to connect the roadways.
Transport expert, Vidyadhar Date said that there should be restrictions on the movement of private vehicles on the roads to avoid traffic congestion. “Frequency of public buses in Mumbai is very low. There is no restriction on the mobility of private cars, which is creating congestion due to which the buses are unable to move freely," Date said. He suggested the administration learn from the ongoing situation and widen the road space for public use.
"Footpaths on the roads are filled with encroachments. Amid the lockdown a large number of people could go to their workplaces by just walking, but the inadequate road space is refraining them from doing so," Date said.
"Had there been dedicated lanes for bicycles, the commotion on roads would have been less," he added.
The Mumbai locals ferry 3.5 lakh commuters per hour. But since the local trains are suspended, many people are spending three hours travelling.
"In Mumbai, there's no other option of improving public transport other than pressing more buses into service. Compared to the population density, the state doesn't have adequate buses to cater to service," said urban planner and senior transport expert, Sudheer Badami.
According to him, these problems wouldn't have happened had the state government implemented the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) in Mumbai. Badami said the state chose to set up a metro network instead of implementing dedicated bus lanes. "Considering the pandemic, the city would have avoided the commotion had BRTS been applied. Bus lanes are faster, eco-friendly and also distancing policies could be maintained," said Badami.
Also echoing what Date said, Badami stated 44 per cent of Mumbaikars daily walk to their workplace for which the improvement of footpaths needs to be a top priority for the civic body to develop a sustainable urban network.