Sunday, March 11, 2012

If local trains are Mumbai's lifeline...

there should be more of them, right? Many many more of them, I suppose. Instead, what do we find?

The attempt to build wide wide roads. And then when wide wide roads get choked, build bridges. And then when wide wide roads and bridges together get choked?

Yesterday, for a change, I decided to travel by the local trains. I calculated that the space that a car which might typically carry 2 guys on an average occupies train-space which can carry nothing less than 12 people and, that too, very comfortably. And yet, what does the government do? Nothing. So around 20-25 odd people squeeze in that space which a car carrying 2 typically occupies. Rationally and economically, it boggles me.

It's incredible, how a thing so so so darn obvious isn't adopted and people in general are treated like fish. Those travelling in cars are no better. Ask them. Travelling isn't fun for them either. The roads are cramped. Just cramped. But one thing is, they don't get to bear the inhumanity of travelling by locals. They have some space in which they can sprawl!

Adopting cars as a way of life isn't just a problem on the roads. Buildings - residential and commercial both - require parking spaces. It is not so difficult to imagine what could be the alternative uses of such spaces. Children can play, adults can work out and in general the city can be much more open and visually beautiful. Commuting wouldn't take as much time. And if there are more bicycles, surely there are likely to be fitter bodies all around.

Don't give me economics and mathematics. Nope, this doesn't cut. To my mind, economics is only extending the cash-flow cycle. What's received in huge salaries is only going into maintaining bigger cars and bigger health checks and remedies, and bigger expenses to keep ourselves entertained since space-driven and fitness driven entertainment options are dying.