Auto's, by virtue of their easy maneuverability, are easily the biggest menace on the city roads, and the cause of all the chaos on them. Their de-merits as a public transport vehicle far out-weigh their merits.
Mail exchanges (between 10th June and today) in a Yahoogroup.
Mr D's initial comment:
Good news ! Autos and Taxis are public transport too.
When there's no (or an inconvenient) bus service to a place, just go ahead and use an Auto or taxi with a clear conscience.
Bangalore has about 1.5 Lakh autos (out of 31 lakh total vehicles).
- An auto is constantly on the move, travels about 150 km. each day. Occupies parking space only when the driver is eating or resting. As against this a person in a car travels maybe 20 km. a day on an average, but uses the same amount of road space as an auto for parking the rest of the day.
- An auto's mileage is 2-3 times more than that of a car (Maruti 800 13 km per litre, big car 8 kmpl). Runs 20-25 km. per liter of LPG (all autos in Bangalore run on LPG).
- LPG is a cleaner fuel than petrol or diesel.
- Per passenger kilometre, an auto emits way less pollutants and uses less energy than a car or bike
- In addition, in terms of absolute total CO2 emitted, autos are a small fraction of the total - they form just 5 % of the vehicle population.
Autos are noisy and some of them emit a lot of smoke, but this can be rectified by proper enforcement of laws.
- The noise is because drivers tamper with the original factory-fitted silencer to get more mileage.
- The smoke is because they put excess oil to prolong engine life. Next time just notice how many autos have no visible exhaust gases at all - this is how it should be.
Autosare actually a very innovative transport solution for our country. It's seriously stupid not to allow them in the new airport.
Ms K's response:
Thanks Mr D for making me lose the guilt feelings I always have whenever I go by Autos. We should also push with theTransport Secretary, Mr. Tripathy, to allow larger, shared, poin-to-point, 8-seater autos. They could also introduce a caller system to an auto service to take us to the nearest bus-stand or wherever we want to go etc., like they are now doing for the BIAL buses.
Response by Mr N
Hi Mr D
Yes, autos can be considered part of public transport provided they are integrated into the
transport system and certain laws are enforced related to their emission and noise.
However, I have to differ with you on certain points and provide correct picture.
- mileage : bikes, even 150 cc bikes such as my Unicorn (which gives 45+kmpl) are much
more efficient, especially as most of them are 4-stroke now, than autos - auto's have
very low mileage - just about 15 kmpl of LPG (verified with many auto drivers). So,
even with LPG, they aren't anywhere near the efficiency of bikes. Their mileage is
in the range of that of a regular small car.
- very few autos in Bangalore currently run on LPG, certainly not all.
- emissions of autos, except the 4-stroke autos (whether they are petrol-based or
LPG-based) are much worse than those of bikes, which are mostly 4-stroke now,
in Bangalore. Most 2-stroke autos are very polluting because of the addition of excess
engine oil, as you pointed out, plus the fact that 2-stroke IC engines are less
efficient than 4-stroke ones in burning the fuel (so the unburnt hydrocarbons are emitted
as visible smoke). In the two-wheeler segment, 2-stroke scooty's are the emission
So, if the govt can phase out 2-stroke autos and help the drivers/owners purchase the
more expensive 4-stroke versions, and enforce certain emission/noise/ tampering related
laws, then certainly they can be more useful as public transport.
Auto's, by virtue of their easy maneuverability, are easily the biggest menace on the city roads, and the cause of all the chaos on them. Their de-merits as a public transport vehicle far out-weigh their merits. Many an expert has repeatedly recommended the phasing out of this (on top ugly) contraption by gradual switch-over to four-wheeler taxi's, if required, even with providing incentives in whatever form.
The above apart, the auto connotes a certain unique lumpen culture, which hopefully could change for the better with the upgradation to four-wheelers.
Mr D's response to my posting
Have mercy on me man !
I already have big problems entering the gates of 5-star hotels, clubs and posh restaurants with my bicycle. I don't hang out at such places habitually, but I do have to go to them to meet clients and such.
By this logic the experts will one day ban me and my bicycle because of our maneuverability, and being lumpen.
The dictionary meaning of lumpen:
1. Of or relating to dispossessed, often displaced people who have been cut off from the socioeconomic class with which they would ordinarily be identified..
2. Vulgar or common
We're actually talking about throwing out the baby with the bathwater here. Why banish the auto instead of fixing the few (and very fixable) problems that it has ?
South Mumbai, the Municipality area if I am not too wrong, has long ago banned the auto, and is much better off for it. The fix required is reliable and efficient public bus transport services, backed by 4-wheeler taxies. Mumbai has both of these. Bangalore could do one better by providing for effective competition to BMTC (which will never improve otherwise), and facilitating phased switch over to the 'nano' by auto's.
If we can turn Bangalore into an Amsterdam, cycling would be fine. But, I would not venture out on a bicycle beyond say, my Koramangala, except on holidays. I would prefer to take a bus, provided there's a good service.
And, what's the connection between the bicycle, lumpen and 5-star hotels? Yes, no particular section has a monopoly over any specific culture, if that's what you mean.
PS: Rather than impose this discussion on the other members of this group, I will take it to http://praja.in/, where more of whoever else interested in the subject can contribute.
Ms D's comment:
Though i had made up my mind to keep away from this debate, wrong interpretation of Bombay's example is making me speak out.
I have lived in Bombay for 22 years and that is where my parents continue to live. It is with this authentic experience that i would like to share my views....
Reasons why autos are not allowed in South Mumbai:
Autos were initially started only for the Suburban areas. and that has remained. Hence the main city (Churchgate to Mahim and CST to Sion) do not have autos.
The Taxi lobby is very very strong and has ensured that the autos do not get to the city areas.
Autos are amongst the most important public transport system in Bbay.
Most ppl in bbay would love to see the autos in south mumbai as well, as they are very cheap to travel in and the next best option to buses on the roads. The meter for the minimum distance is just Rs.9, while taxis/cabs charge Rs.13 for minimum
For those who are from economically weaker backgrounds, autos are the best emergency vehicles to reach hospitals. They reach slum pockets, (where ambulances cant reach) with great ease even though the roads are winding and narrow. They are affordable.
Unfortunately most good govt hospitals of bbay are in south Mumbai, and for very very long the public has been suggesting that auto services should be extended all around the city.
Kindly verify information on other cities before quoting them wrongly!
I got this information from a Bombayite, who comments extensively on traffic issues. He and his lot are happy to keep the auto out. You may say he is part of the taxi lobby, and he will say you are part of the auto lobby. So, there are interpretations and interpretations. With the pro-auto lobby unable to convince the duly elected government of Bombay into following the practice north of Mahim, I suppose anti-auto lobby's interpretations have greater validity, currently atleast. Part of democracy, right?
Likewise in Bangalore, the the auto lobby (alongwith the car and two-wheeler lobbies) is apparently in collusion with the BMTC mafia ( perhaps not the most appropriate word), to keep effective competition out, aided by citizen apathy. With the present poor bus services, the dependence on the auto is steadily on the increase, leading to transport costs forming a sizable chunk of monthly family budgets, particularly of the poorer sections of society.
Do you want to bother with that?
Mr NS adds
The auto lobby is very very strong here and if any one hopes to fix anyone of the problems with them, they are day dreaming.
Also its not entirely correct that autos are less polluting. Check any auto and you will still see the fumes coming out. Maybe they are better compared to diesel cars but no way are they even close to clean.
Meter tampering, refusal to come to any location(they refuse to come to even MG road now) and their penchant for picking up fights on every trivial issues makes them a total No-no. In the night,they are a public threat rather than public transport.
Mr S adds
I have been sporadically following this discussion over the last few days.
I think there have been a lot of "pouring of opinions". People have spoken. But nothing beyond that has happened. Doing all kinds of analysis is very nice. But, if there's anybody who's really interested about doing something about vehicular pollution then instead being an arm-chair intellectual why not DO something about it? Go out there on the field and start something. And once you have started something, I am sure others will follow you. But analysis without concrete action is a sign of apathy for me. You may disagree with me. Go ahead talk it out again.
Yes, that's indeed the aim of http://praja.in/. I have migrated the discussion there for those who may want to take it forward, also through action.