Just a fleeting look at the buses and small vehicles plying on our roads and one can easily make out that the public transport system in Srinagar is almost non-existent.
The gap between what is needed and what we have is huge and yawning with every day. That is one reason why we have too many privately owned small vehicles occupying our roads, and filling our market places all over Srinagar. And if you are stuck till evening you are not going to find it easy to reach home unless you have your own vehicle.
There is much that needs to be done to give this city a dependable, efficient public transport system. There was a time when we had good contribution from government, in the shape of JKSRTC buses, managing long distance, inter-district public transport.
We also had a vibrant KMD private service plying buses within and inlet-district. But now it has all changed. It needs some significant input from government to establish a worthwhile transport system in Srinagar city, and also for inter-district mobility.
It would require not just adding more buses to JKSRTC, but also infuse vigour into private sector to offer good transport services. For this, people-friendly finance schemes, and easy legal process, are badly needed. We know what the pandemic has done to our financial condition. We know how our concerned departments discourage people to apply for various government schemes that are in place.
An addition of a new fleet of buses, would surely contribute to providing better transport facilities to residents in far-flung areas and connecting major towns of J&K, but it would require more such inputs at regular intervals. Similarly the announcement made about digitising the processes and make is paperless and faceless is a good news.
There is an urgent need to get technology into our transportation system. If all the elements of this system - licence, registration, toll, parking, finance, and plying on roads – are made efficient, we can expect a robust transport system in future.