Dear all, kindly divorce your car

Published: Thursday 15 January 2009

Dear all, kindly divorce your car

-- With due respect to god, although not omniscient, we the car-driving and personal vehicle-driven are omnipotent. Let us not feel we are hoist to a new government petard the December 2008 proposals made by the National Action Plan on Climate Change, proposed by the Mission on Sustainable Habitat under the action plan being prepared by the urban development ministry, which include making ownership of parking space compulsory for those wishing to buy new private vehicles, making parking fee reflect the cost of land, imposing a congestion charge and making parts of the city off limits for cars.

Let us, instead, in right earnest, 2009 on, demand, in the city we live in, the world's best-quality buses.

  • I read that buses are the highest taxpayers on the road. Then more road space should be given to them.
    S K Bhattacharjee

  • I worked on the BRT in Delhi as a project trainee. It is sad the way the media is commenting on it. The problem with BRT is the way traffic rules are not followed. Please do not blame the designers and planners of BRT.

  • Is it possible to improve the efficiency of the public transport system to such an extent that even car users will feel motivated to commute by bus?
    P K Jain

  • Tata's nano may be a common man's dream come true. But it will certainly be a source of trouble, since the urban roads are already overcrowded.
    J P Madvaiya

    Buses used commonly in India are called "normal ladder type" a body built on a truck chassis.

    An integral body-chassis type, called monochoque, is replacing this.Cost addition Rs 4 lakh.

    An in-between option is being used by cities like Ahmedabad and also in the Volvo buses of Bangalore.

    This variant comes with features like automative pneumatic doors, power brakes, digital route display. All of these add to the cost--as also the comfort it offers.

    What features do Indian cities want in their buses? Right now, it is mix and match--making the features meet the budget.

    Ladder-type buses had what is called weveller/semi-eliptical suspension. This made them jump, bounce.

    The full air suspension adds to comfort--it does not allow the bus to be pulled down by the weight of passengers--but also adds to cost Rs 2.5 lakh.

    The transmission system is critical for modern buses. This is a big-ticket difference. An automatic is up to Rs 5 lakh more expensive than a manual.

    The automatic hikes operational costs, too. Managing breakdowns is more expensive--they cannot just put the bus into neutral gear and tow it away. The bus has to be physically lifted by cranes and carried in other trucks.

    A retarder, used to check speed, is another Rs 50,000.

    The biggest difference. It requires moving the engine to the rear.

    This hikes the basic bus cost by an estimated Rs 3 lakh, apart from reducing fuel efficiency and increasing running costs.

    For CNG buses, this requires moving the gas cylinders from the bottom to the top. This means additional costs for reinforcing the roof.

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