Forget Pod taxis, fill potholes first: experts urge BBMP

Forget Pod taxis, fill potholes first: experts urge BBMP

As BBMP prepares to float tenders for the driverless Pod taxies, experts and citizens have criticized the move saying the money could be better spent.

They said the city would be better served if the local authorities focus on strengthening the basics such as doing a better job of filling potholes and putting up proper flyovers instead of splurging the sums on futuristic projects.

"Pod taxi is a rigidly fix-line solution for a city like Bengaluru," civic evangelist Ravichander pointed out. "They are better suited for areas around airports or Disney land-style amusement parks. They do not quite fit the larger environment of a city."

He also suspects that the commuter would be made to pay for the substantial money spent on creating the infrastructure for Pod taxis. "Certainly, the operation and maintenance would cost more and the commuter will have to bear it," he said.

Traffic expert Prof MN Sreehari dubbed the fancy projects 'election gimmick.' He saw no logic in introducing an entirely new traffic system.

"BBMP officials and elected representatives should think reasonably," he said. "The money can be spent on laying new roads, improving flyovers and increasing BMTC bus services."

BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad, however, said Pod taxis function on elevated corridors and would, therefore, have none of the traffic woes of the current commuter systems. "Fares will be much lower than cabs and autorickshaws and this (Pod taxis) would unclutter the traffic," he insisted.

Public opinion seems almost overwhelmingly in favour of strengthening existing transport infrastructure rather than going for driverless cabs. "The government must first try sorting out the existing problems in the metro, BMTC and other commuter services. Only then it can think about Pod taxis," said Harindra Singh, a resident of Vidyaranyapura.

Indiranagar resident Pooja Naveen said pothole filling and other last-mile connectivity issues must take precedence over the fancy stuff.

CV Raman Nagar resident Vishwanath said little improvements such as increasing cars of the metro train from the present three would help the rush hour commuters. "If they go for Pod taxis, they should ensure regular services," he said.

Mahananda V, also a resident of CV Raman Nagar, said Pod taxi services in foreign countries are well-maintained. "The government should think of the pros and corns before putting the money into such projects," he said.

Pod taxi services are proposed from Trinity Metro Station to The Leela Palace junction that stretches up to 4.4 kilometres; Leela Palace to Marathahalli (6 kilometres);   Marathahalli junction to EPIP, Whitefield (6.5 kilometres); Trinity Metro Station to Koramangala (7 kilometres); Jayanagar 5th Block to JP Nagar 6th phase (5.3 kilometres); Sony Junction to Indiranagar Metro Station (6.7 kilometres).

These distances are just rough estimates only and may vary.

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