Panel suggests congestion charges in business districts

September 10, 2013

 Express news service : 


Traffic woes Committee set up by Bombay HC makes 51 recommendations to address issue.


Even as traffic management in Mumbai remains an uphill task, a high-powered committee set up by the Bombay High Court in May last year has recommended introduction of congestion charges to restrict vehicles in central business districts (CBDs), besides pay-and-park policy for old and congested areas as well as night-time on-street parking in residential areas. The 11-member committee was formed to suggest remedial steps to ensure smooth vehicular and pedestrian movement and devise workable solutions to address traffic problems.

Creating a taskforce to select modern technology for traffic offences, integration of multi-modal transport networks, integrated ticketing system, refresher training for drivers, capacity building in Regional Transport Office (RTO) for driving tests, use of modern technology for driving test, policy to restrict registration of vehicles, station area improvement, signalisation of all junctions, intelligent transportation system, making space under flyovers free of encroachments and illegal parking, and creating inter-state bus terminals are part of a comprehensive action plan mooted by the committee. In all, the panel has made 51 suggestions.

Panel suggests congestion charges at business districts.

The committee was constituted following a PIL by the Bombay Bar Association seeking strict adherence of traffic norms in the city. On Wednesday, Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Anoop Mohta, however, sought the implementation of two points mentioned in the 48-page report — sharing data and information of registered vehicles and using world-class street furniture for road marking and signages.

The report states that the data of non-transport vehicles and driving licences issued post-2006 have been digitised and shared with the traffic police. However, the action plan suggests that the transport department must take steps to scan the pre-2006 data as well.

The action plan also states that the BMC has undertaken a project for providing street furniture of international standards and made the necessary budgetary provisions. The BMC has undertaken the painting of zebra crossings. The corporation is in consultation with IIT and UDCT for improvement in methods and material used for signages that tend to fade owing to climatic conditions and traffic density in Mumbai. The court has sought compliance of the two suggestions by April 25.

“Restricting the number of vehicles in Mumbai along with congestion could be a possible solution for reducing vehicle density on roads. A sizeable amount of cess on consumption of petrol and diesel for cars in the MMR or Mumbai city, and using the proceeds for improvement and strengthening of public transport system like BEST will be considered. The issue of imposition of cess on petrol and diesel for cars may be taken up by the finance department and further implemented by the sales tax department,” says the report. The committee also suggested congestion pricing in selected areas. “The implementation of policy for congestion pricing will need the database of vehicles registered at RTOs/manpower for enforcement, etc,” it adds.

It moots establishment of a comprehensive parking unit for the city to look at on-road/off-road and vertical parking management, personnel management for operations, among others. “MCGM has invited expression of interest for implementing ‘web based paring’ for on-street parking, which involves electronic handheld devices capable of issuing of e-challans of parking fees, taking photographs of vehicles, noting vehicles’ registration numbers and transferring and storing data on a central server of MCGM. These devices will also have extendibility to use smart cards in future,” says the report.

The findings say that restricting registrations of new vehicles in Mumbai can be considered along with legal provisions as there is no law to stop the registration of vehicles in any office of the registering authority. “Transport commissioner to send a proposal to the Maharashtra government to revisit permit condition for transport vehicles for phasing out of old vehicles. Transport commissioner to also send a proposal to the government for policy initiatives to restrict registrations of new vehicles in Mumbai,” it says.

The report states that while the provisions of Motor Vehicles Act do not provide for “vicarious liability”, in order to adopt technology-based enforcement, the vehicle owner will have to be held equally responsible for certain offences by drivers.

Suggested Measures

Provision of vicarious liability of owners in case of offences committed by drivers.

Introducing congestion charges to restrict vehicles in central business district.

Congestion pricing in selected areas of the city.

Infrastructural facilities like test tracks to improve quality of driving tests.

Capacity building of regional Transport Office for driving tests.

Restricting registration of new vehicles to be considered along with legal provisions.

Taskforce to select modern technology for traffic related offences.

E-challan system with integrated e-payment options and alerting the offenders.

Appoint consultants to prepare parking policy for Greater Mumbai in consultation with traffic police department.

Creating a comprehensive parking unit.

Capacity building in urban local bodies and enforcing agencies.



Share your comments here: