The problem of congestion has been growing due to rise in the number of vehicles. According to records with Road Safety and Transport Authority, we have close to 100,000 vehicles. And the number is only expected to grow with population and income growth. In the bigger towns, lack of parking space is giving drivers harrowing experience.

Time has come for us to figure how our cities can cope with the growing issue of traffic congestion.

Putting a stop to vehicle import is not a sound way to address the problem of congestion and rising fuel import. It simply cannot be done. But there are practical ways to deal with these challenges. There is today an urgent need of good and efficient public transport system in the country, especially in bigger towns and cities. Improving public transport should be the first priority to ease the problem of traffic congestion.

Around the world, public transport is often associated with progress. In the bigger cities, it is found to be more convenient, efficient and cheaper mode of travel. In the future when roads become more crowded, building infrastructure for public transport will be expensive. If we do not act from now, slowly, abrupt shift will be difficult. Changing people’s mindset is challenging.

If we succeed in making public transport efficient, users will grow over the years. To encourage people to use public transport, measures like high parking fees and fewer parking spaces could be adopted. Good and efficient public transport system could help reduce vehicle and fuel import to a large degree.

We may not be able to start in a big way but we can certainly improve our bus services. Comfortable, reliable and affordable services will encourage not just students and people from low income groups, but also politicians, civil servants and business persons. At the heart of improving bus services is making it attractive with increased frequency.

A good public transport system has to be easy and convenient, efficient and affordable. That is what we need.