Chennai: In a trend that is adding to the city’s pollution, more Chennaiites are giving public transport a miss and opting for their own vehicles, according to a study by the Centre of Science and Environment.
Worryingly, almost seven lakh people have stopped using public transport over the last year and 800 new two-wheelers are registered every day on an average in the city, it says.
While Chennai shows deceptively low to moderate pollution levels on account of its location near the sea, the pollution is rising steadily, warned CSE executive director, Anumita Roy Chowdhary, releasing the report here on Tuesday.
The pollution hotspots are Kathivakkam, Manali and Tiruvottiyur where the levels are two to 2.4 times higher than the national standards during peak hours and the daily average pollution, 1.3 times higher.
“Vehicles contribute to 14 per cent of the particulate matter and 68 per cent of the nitrogen oxides. Both lead to lung cancer on long exposure,” noted Professor Shiva Nagendran of the IIT-Madras, who was part of the study.
Lamenting the car- centric infrastructure of the city, Chowdhary blamed the rise in bus fares and expensive autos for the increasing dependence on two wheelers. The higher fuel costs, higher taxes on diesel and declining fuel economy of the bus fleets are also responsible, according to the study.
MTC losing ground as public switch to their own vehicles
Chennai: It is official. Patronage to the city transport provider, MTC, is dwindling drastically as commuters are increasingly moving towards private vehicles.
The number of people using MTC buses in the city has declined by seven lakh when compared to the previous year, reveals a study by the Centre of Science and Environment, a New Delhi based research and advocacy body.
The website of the corporation also concurs with these figures. This is despite an increase in the number of MTC buses from 3260 in 2008 to 3365 in 2013. Anumita Roy Chowdhary, CSE executive director, said, “This decrease spells problems for the city as it means an increase in the number of people using two and four wheelers and thereby increasing the levels of pollution in the city.”
She also added that building roads was not a solution, citing the example of Delhi where, she said, “More than 21 per cent of its geographical area is under road space and yet the roads are totally gridlocked. Cars and two wheelers occupy 90 per cent of the road space but meet less than 20 per cent of the travel demand.”
Raj Cherubal, director (projects) Chennai City Connect said, “The capacity of the system is non existent, when it comes to good planning and implementation the city lacks expertise.” He added that the Chennai corporation is currently involved in over 71 projects which would integrate all public transport systems.
The study stated that in Chennai, cars met only 7 per cent of the daily travel demand and two wheelers as much as 26 per cent. This implies that most people are either using public transport or walking and cycling.
Chowdhary suggested quick scaling up of the public transport system, integrated multi modal transport options and car restraint policies. Officials attached to MTC could not be reached for a comment.