Friday, September 22, 2006

Autoricksaw lanes will stay, say police

Autoricksaw lanes will stay, say police

The Hindu

BANGALORE: Dedicated autorickshaw lanes are here to stay, but with a few changes. The city police are planning more of them and hope that the "teething troubles" will soon be over.

The city police are planning more dedicated lanes from Lavelle Road (Queen's statue) to St. Mark's Road up to Cash Pharmacy and on Residency Road from Cash Pharmacy to Ashirvadam Circle.

Dedicated lanes are in place on Cubbon Road and K.G. Road from Police Corner to Mysore Bank Circle (two lanes) and up to Sagar Cinema junction (single lane).

The police contend that the dedicated lanes have accelerated the speed of other vehicles. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic East) M.A. Saleem said it was an international practice to allow slow-moving vehicles on the left side of the roads only. The Indian Motor Vehicles Act too reaffirmed the international practice.


Barricades, lower-rung officers said, had caused several accidents. Vehicles hitting them had become common as the base of the barricades protruded about a foot on either side.

A welcome relief for road users was that the barricades marking the lanes were temporary. Mr. Saleem said they would be removed once the drivers got used to the lane system.

Another relief for vehicle drivers was that they could merge with each other's domain about 50 metres before junctions. Since the lanes were generally on the left side, autorickshaw drivers found it difficult to take a right turn and other vehicles to take a left turn at Cubbon Road's junction with Kamaraj Road and Dickenson Road. Many vehicle users said it was "dangerous" to cut across the autorickshaw lane to enter and exit Cubbon Road at its T-junctions with Cunningham Road, Union Street and the one leading to Safina Plaza (Main Guard Road). The police said the problem would end once the barricades were removed.

The police are providing alighting bays at two or three places off K.G. Road between Police Corner and Mysore Bank, said Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic - Central), K. Ishwar Prasad. Slabs covering the drain were converted to these bays, he added.

Autorickshaw drivers however, are divided on the efficacy of the dedicated lane. Saddiq N., of Broadway Road, who has been driving an autorickshaw for 46 years, said the new rule was helpful. It was implemented with good intention and autorickshaw drivers should cooperate with the authorities. After the initial problems, the autorickshaw drivers were now used to it. "Going behind one another is good for us and other vehicles also. Only new autorickshaw drivers, who are given to unruly driving, may not like it," said Harshavardhan.

But Muniraju, another autorickshaw driver, highlights a distinct problem. Picking up and dropping passengers on the lanes was difficult. Altough this is not a problem on K.G. Road up to Mysore Bank Circle because of two-lane movement, passengers, particularly elders, find it difficult to cross the road as they had to alight on the right side.


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