District Improvement Charges
With BBMP running out of money & unable to present a coherent budget, city improvement programs have reached a dead end. While congestion charging can provide money for development programs & also reduce congestion it needs technology investment & infrastructure work to plug holes in the congestion chaging cordon. There is also this additional question of how do we ensure the money goes to Public Transport or NMT & not to more flyovers & congestion causing schemes or worst into the personal pockets?
One way to have a quick start is to focus on generating money by starting a CBD levy. This levy will be a fixed yearly fee of lets say Rs1000 on Private 4 wheel vehicles. Autos, commercial yellow board vehicles, taxis, 2wheelers will be exempt. They will be given a permit sticker which will be put on the dashboard & will be enforced like a parking violation. All vehicles which enter a predefined area in the CBD will need to have that sticker or pay a fine for not having the sticker. The money generated can be used to procure buses which will run inside the charging area. People who dont have a sticker can park along the periphery of the area, hop on to these buses & travel within the ideitified area. The money can also be used to fund NMT works within the area. For people already living within this cordon the sticker can be given at a discount or free provided they promise to park in their garage & not on the street. We need to ensure that the agency collecting this levy has a seperate fund which is used only for this purpose.
Once the infrastructure has stabilised, the area of this levy can be increased & also the payment moved to a per use basis so true congestion reduction can occur.