Let's Talk Guwahati: Public Transport - Parking - Traffic Jam: Never Ending Problems of Guwahati

Wednesday, 30 September 2020


Let's Talk Guwahati: Public Transport - Parking - Traffic Jam: Never Ending Problems of Guwahati

Avishek Sengupta | August 24, 2018 18:03 hrs

GUWAHATI: G Plus reached out to more than 10,000 citizens in more than 100 locations in Guwahati as part of a campaign: ‘Let’s Talk Guwahati’ to find out about the various issues pertaining to the city.
With no major expansion in the roads despite a sharp rise in vehicles, commuting has become one of the biggest problems that the citizens face on a day to day basis. The entire problem of daily commuting can be looked through three perspectives mainly – traffic congestions, parking troubles and lack of public conveyance.

82 per cent of Guwahati residents spend more than 15 minutes in traffic jams daily
Responding to the questionnaire, overall 82 per cent of the respondents replied that they spend more than 15 minutes stuck in traffic jams every day.

More than 800 people (9.3 per cent) said that they spend more than an hour every day trying to get to their destination.

Around 3000 respondents (29.2 per cent) said that they spend more than half an hour every day to commute to their place of business.

Of the total respondents around 4000 (43.8 per cent) spend more than 15 minutes stuck in traffic jams daily. 

Around 1500 respondents, on the other hand, said that they spend less than 15 minutes in traffic jams.

While almost the entire city reels under massive traffic jams during the peak hours, the conditions are more chaotic on the R.G. Baruah Road, at parts of the G.S. Road, Maligaon and Paltan Bazar.

Sajid Ahmed, a resident of Ganeshguri, who spends at least an hour every day in traffic congestions said, “Ganeshguri happens to be the most traffic jam-prone areas of the city. Whichever way I travel, be it towards, R.G. Baruah Road, or Beltola, or towards Christian Basti, I have to go through a traffic snarl that lasts more than 15-20 minutes. If I have to make four or five round trips, I spend more than an hour easily.”

56.3% people avoid using their own vehicle due to parking constraints 

The lack of parking spaces in the city has now affected city dwellers so much that more than half the four wheeler owners of the city said that they avoid using their own vehicle due to parking issues in the city. 

While 20% respondents said that they often avoid taking out their vehicles, 36.3% said that they do it sometimes. However, 43.7% people use their vehicles. 

“It is more hassle than convenience if I take out my car. Firstly, the four wheelers always get stuck in traffic jams while the two wheelers zigzag their way through it. So, I choose to travel mostly on two-wheelers. It is only when I have to take my family out that I take out my car,” Gaurav Chakraborty, a resident of Rehabari said. 

More than 10000 people participated in this section of the survey where G Plus attempted to find out how many people had their own conveyance and if they still had to opt for public conveyance due to traffic or parking issues. 

Of the total respondents, 38.7% said that they have their own four wheelers, 51.6% said that they have their own two-wheelers while it was found that 12.9% have both. Only 26.2% don’t have their vehicles and commute using public conveyance. 

“I have a car, but for short distances or for places where I know that there will be no parking spaces, I mostly take public conveyance or the app-operated cab services,” Sundeep Porja, a resident of Ulubari said.

Lack of parking space major reason for traffic congestion

Nearly 10,000 respondents in the G Plus campaign ‘Let’s Talk Guwahati’ were given multiple options that could ease the prevalent traffic congestions in the city. A majority, 54 per cent (more than 5ooo) said that it could be solved by setting up more parking lots in the city. 

Unregulated parking at no parking zones and on the narrow roads of the city has been a perennial problem for a long period of time. “Most of the time, the traffic congestions are caused because someone had double-parked or diagonally-parked in a parallel parking zone. One must understand that loads of vehicles on the roads have increased, but the roads did not expand accordingly. 

Traffic can only be managed when people follow rules and park vehicles accordingly,” a senior police official of the Guwahati Traffic Police told G Plus. People, however, said that they have to park at places where they do not want due to the lack of parking spaces. “While there are only a few government public spaces, most of the shops and eateries in the city do not have parking spaces. 

So, we are bound to park by the side of the road at times,” Gitartha Goswami, a resident of Maligaon said. The next most popular suggestion, however, is to raise awareness (53.3 per cent) and put strict enforcement to control traffic. 

“We are doing the best with the existing manpower, but people often tend to take traffic regulations very lightly and jump signals, or park wrongly,” the police official said. Next follows the suggestion to build more flyovers (49.3 per cent) and widen the roads (40.2 per cent). 

Interestingly, 33.6 per cent of respondents suggested against stopping of traffic for VIP convoys, a trend that still exists occasionally despite the incumbent chief minister’s stooping claims of getting rid of the VIP culture. 

51.4% unsatisfied with city’s public transport system 

Over 8000 people who responded to the issue of public transport in the G-Plus ‘Let’s Talk Guwahati’ survey, more than fifty per cent expressed that the public conveyance arrangements in the city are not up to the mark, while 28.6 per cent said that there are several scopes for development. 

In Guwahati, the public conveyance is mostly by bus and share cabs. However, in the link roads and lanes one has to hire a rickshaw to travel. Respondents have complaints that city buses don’t cover all the areas of the city. 

“Bus routes are only confined to certain major roads while the smaller link roads are covered by share cabs. The number of such cabs is very low in these routes and the vehicles are mostly crowded. Many a times passengers have to travel by clinging to the doors,” Prakash Sarma, a resident of Chatribari said. 

When G Plus asked for suggestions on how to develop the public transport system, a majority 77.4 per cent of the total respondents said that public transportation should be made available 24 hours. 

“It is very difficult to get vehicles after 9 PM and we have to depend on Uber or Ola, but those are not cost efficient,” said Deepankar Das a resident of Uzan Bazar. 

On app-based cab services 46.2 per cent of the total respondents said that the number of app-based cab services needs to be regulated so that more public conveyance can ply on the roads. 

“While Uber and Ola are not affordable for many, the government should give an opportunity to other public means of conveyance using which, people can travel economically even late at night. 

In place of a regular cab that only takes one ride at a time, an extra share cab can carry at least 10 passengers at a time and will be cheaper for the commuters, too,” opined Arvita Kemprai, a resident of Uzan Bazar. 

A total of 42.4 per cent respondents suggested that auto rickshaws should be given a chance by enforcing the meter reading system.

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