16th October was a great day for Bombay-ites to travel by road. Rickshaws & cabs were on strike; the pollution levels should’ve been drastically low that day; people must have been suffocating by breathing better air; BEST raked in profits which again goes to prove that the public transport system is solid here; people reached destinations early as distances traveled in 1 hour 30 minutes normally were reached in 20 minutes flat, even less. So does this mean that this public mode of private transport should be banned?

Yes.

Those familiar with Bombay must be knowing that rickshaws are not allowed beyond Bandra (a surburb). How-so-ever incvonvinient this makes plying to and from city to the suburbs it makes sure that pollution and traffic is not as much as it would be if these were allowed. Now why not apply this to the suburbs too? No one knows, the rickshaw union won’t let this happen.

Considering that the metro rail is under-construction and BEST buses have amazing network, I thought that rickshaws and cabs should be banned completely. This would irk the MNS and Raj Thackeray because it sounds like handing pink slips to all the drivers. But, here me out completely before scrolling down to the comment form and cursing me.

IMO all the thereby affected rickshaw & cab drivers should be absorbed by BEST & Western Railway, increase the number of A.C. buses and frequency of trains. This does 3 things:

  1. Makes public transport more efficient.
  2. Increases the number of people using it.
  3. Drastically reduces pollution and traffic.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

However, I was talking to a friend of mine – Gautam Salhotra (IIT guy, intelligent and all); he said that private mode of public transport cannot be done away with, no matter how far buses reach, they won’t go into the by lanes where rickshaws go and what about luggage when family is going out?

Let’s answer part 2 of the question first. What about luggage when family is going out?

Well, take cue from Bangalore Airport’s shuttle volvo service, absorbed rick & cab drivers can help run this. Indian Rail & Airports both can start their services or let BEST handle these services for them with dedicated buses to & from at quick intervals.

Now for part 1 of the question, what about by-lanes?

This is where I thought that we can re-phrase my ‘Yes’ to a ‘Partially yes’. So what do I mean by a partial ban?

Like rickshaws are not allowed beyond Bandra they can be further restricted area wise and only allowed within certain limits and not allowed on the main roads (Link Rd. & SV Rd.); the number of rickshaws should be limited depending on the density of the area. This again should be under BEST or the govt. and not be a private service governed by the rickshaw union.

I have a feeling that this will never happen, but IMO if this were implemented in some form or other would definitely reduce traffic & pollution levels.