| City buses make unscheduled stops, which add to traffic congestion. Picture by UB Photos |
July 18: State transport commissioner Swapnanil Baruah today said officials of the state transport department, police and Guwahati Municipal Corporation were working in tandem to find ways to reduce the number of stops for public transport vehicles in the city.
The move comes in response to a recent request by the Pollution Control Board, Assam, to reduce the number of stops in the city in a bid to check the increasing levels of air and sound pollution.
PCBA chairman R.M. Dubey, in a letter to the transport commissioner, said the city had “numerous and unnecessary” number of stops for city buses and trekkers that not only caused air and sound pollution but also added to the increasing traffic congestion.
“I would like to inform you that the public transport system in the city is still not organised in an environment-friendly way, which is becoming a major source of air and sound pollution. Unless proper ratifications are carried out, the pollution problem may increase manifold,” the letter said.
Baruah admitted that there was no control over the entire public transport system in the city. “It is very difficult to control the public transport system in the city as there is no specific authorised body to do it. To look after the transport system in the urban areas, we are contemplating an Urban Metropolitan Transport Authority,” he said.
The PCBA said frequent braking and changing of gears released fumes and unburned fuels, which added to the overall air pollution load on the city. The board suggested that the distance between two stops should be maintained in the range of 500 metres.
City buses and trekkers are found to stop wherever they come across a passenger, causing severe traffic congestion. Moreover, the bus and trekker stops are not properly placed. “Some of these stops are located in crowded areas like market places, road junctions and in front of important public offices, hospitals, schools and colleges where public gathering is more. This adds to traffic congestion thereby increasing air and sound pollution,” the letter said.
The pollution control board also asked the transport department to ensure that all stops were at least 50 metres away from the busiest points of the crowded areas.
Pointing at the traffic congestion near the ends of flyovers, where queues of city buses was a common sight, the board suggested that there should not be any stop within 100 metres of any flyover.
“The pollution control board is anxious about the growing air and sound pollution in the city. If pollution keeps on increasing at this rate it will severely affect the health of the people,” an official of the board said.