Thursday, 25 April, 2024

Stuck In Traffic Jam

Bini Dahal

Besides being narrow, the road of Jadibuti is quite popular for its everlasting “any time of the day” traffic jams. In my experience, leaving home at 9 am in the morning is the worst idea as you may get stuck in the traffic jam that mostly lasts for half an hour and more. And my lack of skill in calculating time properly has made me habituated to this traffic jam.
Growing population is the major factor that has been causing these unbearable traffic congestions. The increase in number of people is directly linked to the growth in the number of vehicles on the road. So it is obvious that the roads of Kathmandu host public and private vehicles, more than their real capacity. A report published by the Metropolitan Traffic Police Office shows that Bagmati zone alone has 1.17 million vehicles registered out of the total 3.23 million vehicles in Nepal.
The number of vehicle riders is very high. But the roads are very narrow to the point that motorcycle riders form their own queue even along the footpaths, preventing people from walking. Though the government has been trying its best to prevent long traffic jams by expanding the roads, it has not been successful in all of its efforts. The 800-metre long underpass constructed in Kalanki with the support of China has become a tie-breaker in cutting off long traffic congestions in the major entrance into the Kathmandu Valley. But other than this, other roads around Kathmandu are still narrow and congested. They are getting damaged easily due to the use of substandard construction materials.
In the era where we want everything to be performed or done fast and perfectly, traffic congestions can become a reason stopping us from doing so. Kathmandu’s population growth will not stop here but the traffic congestion needs to be stopped at all cost. Besides the jam, another concern of many of the Kathmandu denizens is the growing pollution. All of the different vehicles that we ride today run on diesel and petrol. They cause damage to the environment through their high carbon emission. So, first and foremost, the government needs to promote electrical vehicles, an alternative to the fuel running vehicles.
Currently, the trend of using electrical vehicles is rising slowly but has not reached a large target population. Nearly every house today has at least one vehicle or more. The unreliable public transportation is to be blamed for this trend to come into effect. But we do not know when the vehicle for our destination will arrive. The next problem is that the vehicle is so crowded that we cannot even breathe normally. And this is why; people are ready to pay heavy taxes on vehicles just to travel freely to their destinations and most importantly on time.
The government should help make public vehicles reliable. If it is required, it should hike up taxes to promote public transportation service among people. Decreasing the number of private vehicles especially motorbikes and scooters will itself help control traffic congestion. If appropriate measures are taken, maybe in the future we can travel freely. And maybe even forget that traffic jams ever existed in Kathmandu!