Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Posted at: Apr 13, 2019, 8:32 AM; last updated: Apr 13, 2019, 8:32 AM (IST)GOOD MOTORING

Car pooling: Now or never

The idea of sharing cars has been around for long. However, its implementation is still a far cry
Car pooling: Now or never
Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

H. Kishie Singh

The equinox phenomenon has heralded an early summer and pollution will soon raise its ugly head to choke us. Delhi, of course, will be the worst affected; Chandigarh also had high levels of pollution last year. I say ‘of course’ for Delhi because the city makes no sensible or practical move to combat air pollution. Chandigarh is also not far behind when it comes to lack of a concrete policy to maintain clean air even though it could be much easier for Chandigarh as it has wide open spaces and a small population. However, the administration is waiting patiently for the horse to escape and then amble over to close the gates!

Mention pollution and that damnable invention, the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), comes to mind. And did you know the ICE produces heat? Well, ICE is one of the major contributors towards global warming. If we cannot control and tame this beast, we can look forward to global warming and the decay and possible demise of Earth. There are indications that this is a very real possibility. At the recent COP 24 meeting in Katowice, Poland, world leaders and scientists met to discuss, debate and deduce that the planet was in mortal danger.

Let’s start with Chandigarh. Statistics show that the highest English-speaking and educated state is Kerala before 8 am. I would say after 8 pm, it is Punjab! By that time everyone has cleansed the mouth with their favourite mouthwash and are ready to plan and strategise!

They are at their favourite watering hole. They could come in a Beemer, an Audi, a Merc or an Endeavour; possibly one person in each car. Four people, four cars polluting Chandigarh unnecessarily. Much the same happens each morning. Up to a dozen car owners from sectors 3-4-5-8-9 work in Sector 17, maybe along Madhya Marg or the Industrial Area. It’s usually one person, one car, the best way to pollute the atmosphere and clog our roads!

There is nothing new about this problem. Every developing nation goes through this. It’s just that we haven’t learnt a lesson. But Montreal learnt its lesson about 50 years ago. It is an island city in the middle of Saint Lawrence river. Several bridges connect it to the North and South shore. They are toll bridges.

If there were 4+1 driver per car, the toll would be $5. For one car with one driver, it would be an exorbitant $25, or something like that, if I remember correctly! I never paid any toll. I lived on the island and walked to work. It is time that the intelligensia of Chandigarh, the captains of industry, retired bureaucrats, judges and faujis made a practical decision and implement it.

Yes, the answer is car pools. You can continue to flaunt your cars — a Beemer one week, a Merc next, an Audi later. One car can drop three to four people to work, come back to take wifey shopping, mommy to her kitty party and kiddo to the gym. One car will have moved seven to 10 persons! A small, but intelligent, practical move can make a major contribution to Mother Earth’s health!

And please do have stickers on your rear windscreen flaunting: “I am a car pooler!” 

Happy Motoring!


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