RAWALPINDI: The traffic congestion is a wicked problem which is creating difficulties for the citizens, particularly in congested areas of the town as the number of vehicles and motorcycles registered by Excise and Taxation Rawalpindi, has reached to 1,081,422.
Long queues of vehicles which are reported on different city roads including Murree Road, Raja Bazar, Jamia Masjid Road, Saidpur Road, Rehmanad, Sadiqabad, Tench Bhatta and other thoroughfares particularly of main city area can be avoided by imposing increased penalties on the traffic rules violators including parking rules.
According to traffic and road safety experts, the government should introduce strict laws and rules with heavy fines to tackle the traffic hazards, increase the level of road safety and ensure smooth flow of traffic in congested areas as several roads including Raja Bazar and Murree Road give a scene of the sea of vehicles. Ambulances carrying patients can also be witnessed stuck in the long queues of vehicles on the city roads.
Total number of vehicles and motorcycles registered by Excise and Taxation Rawalpindi has reached to 1,081,422 including 92,136 vehicles and 833,751 motorcycles. The department registered total 38,635 diesel vehicles with 33,602 CNG and 1,009,185 petrol vehicles and motorcycles. 115,718 vehicles and motorcycles were registered during last financial year.
The department registered total 119,873 petrol vehicles including 104,102 motorcycles, 5808 cars, 19 CNG, 1111 diesel and other vehicles during the 2017-18.
Total 121,003 vehicles including Motorcycles, Motor Cars, Jeeps, St. Wagons, Pick-ups, Vans, Buses, Mini buses, Flying Coaches, Richshaws, Motorcars, Trucks, Tractors, Ambulances, Water Bowzers, Double Cabin and Cranes were registered during the year in the district.
Proper police enforcement can help reduce the number of violations which should be focused by the authorities concerned.
The Government should invest in automated enforcement to increase the level of efficiency in catching and penalizing the violators. Smarter and more efficient roads should be built. Maintenance of the roads in the city is one of the major issues faced by the commuters.
Facilities for pedestrians must also be improved from the quality of footpaths to making strict rules for pedestrian signals. More awareness campaigns need to be undertaken to inculcate traffic discipline and civic sense. One of the barriers in smooth flow of traffic is encroachment.
In the city markets the shopkeepers put their goods outside their shops and also on footpaths/roads which cause a great hurdle in the flow of traffic. There is no proper parking area in the Rawalpindi City except Raja Bazar parking plaza.
Though the owners of commercial plazas construct plaza basements as parking lots but on later stages, they convert these basements into shops violating the rules. It is a dilemma that in the city proper parking plazas and spaces could not be established by the concerned development authorities to facilitate the motorists.
That is why public face problems while visiting the city area to park their vehicles. Rawalpindi city has only nine bus bays in densely populated and congested areas of Rawalpindi City. The concerned authorities should manage bus bays/bus stops in proper ways.
Due to the lack of bus bays and Heavy PSV stands, these Public Service Vehicles are being parked on roads which create a great inconvenience for the general public.
The ban on entry of heavy vehicles in the city areas during daytime should be implemented strictly. Another problem being faced by the motorists is chocked sewerage system of the city which is not well established and maintained.
The rainwater pours on the roads, which fills the markets and shops. Most vehicles are trapped in this water. The underpass of the committee chock is also not safe from the rainwater.
“What to do when we have no space to take fresh air,” said Mahmood, who remained stuck in his vehicle for more than one hour on Murree Road. “The government should plan well for the easy mobility of the people rather than leaving them marooned on roads all day.”
The protest rallies should be strictly banned on the main city roads like Mall Road, Murree Road and Raja Bazar as they only add traffic-related miseries. Several motorists, who suffered the traffic jam, have appealed to the government to revisit its traffic plan for the city roads to provide relief to them.
The system of acquiring a driving license needs to undergo an extensive level of transformation. Also, computerisation and improvement in the format of driving test would be beneficial.
Though various policies and plans were formulated and implemented by City Traffic Police (CTP) Rawalpindi, the issue still persists.
It is problem of the citizens so, they should also play a role to address it with their involvement, coordination and commitment.