Traffic FAQ

Root cause of indiscipline...

Root cause: poor driving tests!

Another root cause: outsiders/ youngsters/ (blame-some-group)


Suggested remedies...

Why don't the police... (suggest various penalties)?

XYZ rule (lane discipline/ no high beams/...) must be enforced first.

Can we control traffic/ Can Police give us some rights?


"Too many vehicles" is the real problem...

 Too many vehicles is not conducive for traffic discipline. Shall we work towards reducing no of vehicles?
What Pune needs is a metro/ tram/ skybus.


SPTM's approach...

 Why don't we file cases against officials who do not do their job?

What's going to happen just by observing traffic rules?

Ok, I have decided to follow rules 100%. Why is the sticker needed?

This is a bottom-up approach and will take a long time. Why don't you have a top-down approach, i.e. shouldn't the governing authorities be forced to do their job properly first?


Why don't we...

We need to spread SPTM among college students.

We should have badges or caps or some ID to show anyone.

 


 

Q Root cause of indiscipline... 

The root of the indiscipline is in the poor level of driving tests one needs to clear to get a license. We must first make RTO conduct very strict driving tests.

True. Yet once again, for this to work we will need to convince all RTOs nationwide. The problem will not be solved if just Pune RTO conducts the tests the way we want. Again, SPTM is very small today for this issue to be tackled at the RTO level. Hopefully in a few years we can be that powerful.

It is mainly because of outsiders/ youngsters/ (blame-some-group) that the traffic is so indisciplined.

We also see lots & lots of middle aged, born and brought up Punekars breaking traffic rules. They always had, and even today, have a choice of following all traffic rules. Instead of blaming some group, let us see what we can do to solve the problem.

 

Q Suggested remedies... 

The police should increase the fine amount from Rs.100 to at least Rs.2,000.

They should puncture the violator's vehicle's tyres.

They should make the violator control the traffic alongwith them.

(other punishments one can think of...)

The police must follow certain rules/ acts. None of the above are stipulated in the MVA Act today. Also, the fines etc. are the same countrywide, hence they cannot be determined by any entity in Pune alone. Yes, the MVA Act could perhaps be amended to include the above suggestions. However, SPTM is too small today to get such changes made, which would have countrywide impact.

"XYZ rule must be enforced first."

We hear this all the time: "People need to be taught lane discipline/ people drive with high beams/" etc.

If we look at citizens of Pune as children going to school (as far as traffic is concerned), it becomes clear that the citizenry as a whole needs to learn & follow certain basic rules first. Just like children learn ABCD first, then simple nursery rhymes and eventually works of reputed authors.

We have suggested a campaign for improving Pune's traffic discipline in a systematic and planned manner. The campaign is called "Mission 10vi Pass" and is accepted by Pune Traffic Police and PMC. We have decided to focus on the traffic rules as suggested by Mission 10vi Pass.

With so many people joining SPTM, we should be able to provide enough volunteers to police to control traffic/ Police should give us some rights to nab violators.

Though it could provide some temporary relief, it is not a scalable solution. We cannot have citizens at all traffic signals, inner roads etc., 24 hrs a day. If police give us some rights to take action on violators, they will have to do so to any group asking for such rights. What makes SPTM members so special? And who will certify that we are indeed special, on whatever basis?

Instead, SPTM believes that "we do our duty, and demand that police also do their duty." We won't do someone else's job! Of course, we will do everything possible to help them increase their efficiency, their workforce, to improve their working conditions, to transform the overall environment so that people who follow traffic rules are respected & not ridiculed.

Today, say, some 10% people follow traffic rules anyway. 10% will break these rules anyway. And the remaining 80% are breaking traffic rules simply because the environment is conducive to that. That makes the police's job so difficult. If we change this environment, most of these 80% will also follow traffic rules. Then the police will need to focus on just the remaining 10% hard nuts, with 90% of the citizens taking the police's side. THAT is a permanent solution.

 

Q "Too many vehicles" is the real problem... 

The number of vehicles in Pune is so large that it might make sense to work on reducing the vehicle density first. Then it might be simpler for people also to follow traffic rules.

Of course, that would help. However, note that cities like London have much larger vehicle densities than even Pune. Also, at 7 am there aren't so many vehicles on the roads in Pune. We think that the main causes of traffic indiscipline are: people in Pune have never been taught good road habits, and there is no fear of law/ traffic police. These will need to be addressed regardless of vehicle density in Pune.

We need to work on both fronts parallely. Please also read the next question & answer.

What Pune needs is a metro/ tram/ skybus.

Whether Pune needs any of the above or BRT or just a massively improved PMPML will suffice as Pune's public transport, is something best left for experts to decide. However, they can't do so unilaterally - SPTM intends to be such a large body of citizens that these experts will have to answer questions we ask. As consumers of the traffic system, we will have to get involved by asking the experts and authorities the right questions.

Organizations like "Parisar" are working on improving the public transportation in Pune. Instead of opening another front with PMC on the same issue, SPTM has decided to vehemently support Parisar in their efforts, as long as Parisar's approach seems logical to us. Naturally, the larger we are, the louder would be our support to their efforts!

Also, people will still need to follow queues, cross roads at zebras only, stop at red signals etc etc. Level of overall discipline will have to be increased dramatically for any public transport system to succeed in Pune.

 

Q SPTM's approach... 

Why don't we file cases against officials who do not do their job?

Well, that needs a lot of time-money-energy. A case/ even a threat of filing a case might make some officials work a little bit. However, such a situation ends all possibility of cooperation from such officials.

Instead, we are persistently following up with officials for actions they should take. As individuals, we often feel that we are banging our head on a wall for a mere zebra crossing. However, we we put five heads together, we have seen that the wall breaks! If 5 people take turns & follow up the same problem, such officials need to dodge 5 of us, and our load becomes 1/5th.

"But why can't they paint the zebra at our first request itself?" Yeah, that is the right way for things to work. Yet, we are sure that very soon such officials will realize that a request coming from an SPTM member has a large force behind it, so it better be addressed quickly.

One more point: Legal actions, RTI etc are very valid tools. However, does experience tell us that they have been effective? We can't fight the "system" with weapons the "system" has designed! SPTM is trying a new approach, which is not tried out yet - hence we can't assume that it will not work :)

What's going to happen just by observing traffic rules?

Following traffic rules is our tool, not the end objective. SPTM derives its energy from the unity of such responsible citizens who follow traffic rules. Please also see the next question.

Ok, I have decided to follow rules 100%. Why is the sticker needed?

The sticker serves multiple purposes. The immediate effect is that it provides a role model on the streets by identifying you as "a good person". It is easy to spot people who break traffic rules, but we need such a sticker for good people to be stand out.

On a much longer term, it binds us to our open unconditional commitment: not just of following traffic rules, but also of driving a transformation in the traffic system. It becomes instrument of networking and spreading the Movement. It unites us, the responsible & conscientious citizens and give us the much-needed visibility.

As in many other social organizations, only about 5-10% SPTM members actually find some time & energy to take part in our activities. They are motivated when they see the other 90-95% members' vehicles on the streets, with SPTM stickers. In that sense, a sticker provides an "activity" for all SPTM members: that of keeping our active members motivated.

When we interact with authorities from PMC and Traffic Police, and when they see SPTM vehicles on the streets, they are also reminded of our strength: "ah, so they are not just 3-4 people who bug us, but they are backed by several thousands!"

This is a bottom-up approach and will take a long time. Why don't you have a top-down approach, i.e. shouldn't the governing authorities be forced to do their job properly first?

There is no doubt that there is a lot that the governing authorities have to improve. However, when we say, "they have to improve first", we remain trapped in a vicious circle. Our observation is that several NGOs have so far tried to either help them to control traffic or put pressure on them / criticized them for their shortcomings or followed up with them for getting some improvements done. None of this seems to succeed at least to get any long term or permanent benefits. e.g. Sometimes some NGOs have achieved the implementation of a specific drive like "No tolerance zone", which hasn't contributed the slightest for any long-term improvement.

Hence, while we respect any such efforts that any NGOs or forum may do, we have taken a radically different path. We believe, conscientious citizens like you, will see the point and join the Movement and spread it to others. When we have good visibility, in fact it will spread faster. We trust, with the large number of conscious citizens who are seen to be doing their duty unconditionally, we will be ale to put far more pressure on governing authorities to remove their shortcomings and work towards a long term vision. We would have broken the current blame passing vicious circle and specific improvement will start making a positive effect.

 

Q Unexplored ways for SPTM...

We need to spread SPTM among college students.

Indeed, why not! For some reasons we have not been able to focus on this "future of India" as much as we should have. Yes, there are issues like many students would leave Pune for work/ higher studies; they could lend their vehicle with an SPTM sticker to someone who might not follow traffic rules etc etc. Yet, just like there are students who would say, "let me see who makes me follow traffic rules", there also are young people who say, "let me see who laughs at me following all traffic rules!"

Can you help us connect with this source of abundant positive energy?

We should have badges or caps or some ID to show anyone.

Some identification that recognizes one as an SPTM member may be useful. However, it will be significant if we can make it available to 90%-95% SPTM members. For consistency it must be made by one professional source, and then, the logistics of reaching out such physical items to our members becomes a huge bottleneck. If you have any idea to overcome it and are willing to own and drive it, please write to meetus@savepunetraffic.org.