Not owning a vehicle, I used to depend antirely on the public transportation system of Sri Lanka.Visiting Sri Lanka after sometime ,I can only wonder at how things have become crazier .I thought it couldn't become worse but our guys can always top that kind of expectations .
Everybody seems to be pissed off about the situation but nobody seems to be doing anything about it.There was one exception .Galle Road-Duplication Road(R.A. De Mel Mawatha) oneway idea .According news reports (since I was not there to have first hand knowledge ) it was chaos .It is a briiliant idea.The two roads are just 100 m apart,parallel and wide .Only we can f---up a simple solution which is so obvious.You have to stop at the car at the door step,park along the bussiest road and highway nirwana is just infront of the guy who is speeding ahead of you.
On a positive note no-parking rule in Galle road during rush hour and Marine drive seems to be sort of working (The schools were closed while I was there,which might have contributed,too).The only solution people seem to have is buying the biggest intimidating vehicle or the tiniest one which sneak between vehicles and somehow get from point A to B.
Since we cannot afford subways(what happned to electric train idea,the delhi example, people?) what is the best affordable way out of this mess?
There is an incredibly similar situation in South America.They are trying out a solution .NYT had an article about the recent experiment in Mexico City .Looks like it is working.The attitude,the unruliness and the private bus ownership seems like the Sri Lankan situation.
"It's fair to call it the toughest city in the world," said Dr. Schipper of the Mexican capital's transportation needs. "It's the worst combination of bad air, bad traffic and poor management that has let the transport system decay over 30 years."
The careening private minibuses that competed for passengers used to weave across lanes and then stop two abreast, as commuters piled on. The city spent more than a year negotiating with the 262 owners whose buses plied Insurgentes to get them to remove their buses. They are now part owners and employees of the Metrobus.
They replaced the chaos with designated bus lines and a single time table it seems .Everything is not going properly at the moment ,according to the article.
The city has piled on extra help at stations, workers who shout instructions and try to mold amorphous crowds into lines. "It's the third world, we are 20 million people, what do you expect?" said Mabel Grajales, a city worker who was one of those trying to move the crowds along.
Sounds like Sri Lanka ,no?
Here is the good news.
"He's the only politician with vision," said Luis Andrade, an office worker who says his travel time has been cut nearly in half by the Metrobus. The old buses raced, braked and suddenly lurched. "There were too many of them. All the noise, the pollution, that's been eliminated."
Seventy-five percent of Metrobus riders asked in a poll published Monday by the newspaper Reforma said they considered it better than the old minibuses, and 81 percent said they believed the problems would eventually be resolved.
Let's do something now rather than bitching after the next big accident.