AS the first spell of monsoon rains, as usual and as expected, wreaked havoc on Karachi, it also highlighted the need for better traffic management as we saw horrible traffic logjams soon after the rain started in the city.

Amidst rising fuel prices and worsening economic woes, it is imperative to take steps to make our lives easier. There is a dire need for improving traffic rules and guidelines in the metropolitan city where, it seems, the number of vehicles has superseded the number of humans.

It is disappointing to see hundreds of vehicles with a lone driver, occupying the space as well as emitting carbon emissions which could be replaced by single vehicle carrying dozens of passengers.

Besides, the timing of vehicles on roads should also be an important issue for policymakers. When people rush towards their destinations at a particular time, say, after work, we see massive traffic jams. The school and office-goers, whether public or private, set off their journey at the same time and that adds to the traffic issues. If the timing of the office-goers can be staggered according to the nature of their respective jobs, it can reduce the burden on the roads.

Metropolitan cities are built in a manner that may serve the interest of the people. The citizens of cities like Tokyo, Shanghai, New York and Mumbai take pride in calling themselves metropolitan. They have respect for the culture, are ethical, have respect for laws along with pluralistic mindset and a volunteering spirit.

Karachi used to be one of the beautiful cities of the world during colonial times and British officers always preferred to have their posting in the city. Unfortunately, things have changed with time. But we can still turn things around. Full-scale restoration of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) can be a step in the right direction.

If comfortable service is provided to the people, they will switch to public transport within no time because everyone is sick and tired of traffic jams and parking issues. We may also reintroduce the tram service as trams are more fuel-efficient.

The owners of private vehicles should be allowed to use their vehicles over the weekend only for recreational purposes. Besides, the movement of all monstrous vehicles on city roads during daytime should be banned with immediate effect. Their movement should be restricted to nights. Lastly, the use of bicycles among the masses should be promoted enthusiastically.

Every urbanite spends three to four hours passing through horrific traffic every day. It means a good part of one’s life is spent facing gridlocks. It can only do negative things to the mind and the body. Let us use prudence to set things right.

Ashfak Siyal
Karachi

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2022

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