Opinion | Sunvoice

EDITORIAL: Time To Fix The Traffic Congestion Problem

The long queues of vehicles in the mornings and af­ternoons around the country, especially in cities and towns, is an ever-growing problem. While it is becoming a national headache, solu­tions
20 Mar 2018 12:39
EDITORIAL: Time To Fix The Traffic Congestion Problem

The long queues of vehicles in the mornings and af­ternoons around the country, especially in cities and towns, is an ever-growing problem.

While it is becoming a national headache, solu­tions are being worked out as to how best roads can be opened up or widened, the problem will never go away.

A lot of car owners now wake up much earlier than usual to be able to reach work or other destinations on time.

As the queues get longer by the week, aggravated by the sale of vehicles, the waking up time will surely get earlier.

While our full attention is focused on the roads, is anyone looking at the importation of vehicles?

Take a drive around the country and check out the yards of all second-hand car dealers and you will get the message.

The massive stock some dealers keep is unbeliev­able.

Sure the vehicles, especially the Prius models, are now affordable to almost everyone.

For young couples, it’s easy to get behind the wheel of your own vehicle because the banks are now not so strict on their car loans.

Good second-hand vehicles can now be bought for as low as $11,000 in some places compared with $20,000 for such vehicles 10 years ago.

Traffic congestion is not primarily a problem, but rather our basic problem is that many people want to move at the same time each day.

This is a sign of the efficient operation of the economy and school systems that require people to go to work, school and even run errands during about the same hours.

That basic requirement cannot be altered without crippling our economy and society.

The same problem exists in every major metropolitan area in the world.

In the US, with 87.9 per cent of America’s daily com­muters using private vehicles, millions want to move at the same time of the day.

America’s basic problem, and which we face here at home, is that the road system does not have the capac­ity to handle peak-hour loads without forcing many people to wait in line for that limited road space.

Waiting in line is the definition of congestion and the same condition is found in all growing major metro­politan regions.

Perhaps one solution would be to charge tolls during peak hours, which would result in motorists evad­ing these times and travelling when tolls are not charged.

However, some would say this could favour wealthier car owners and could be seen as another way to collect more tax from the people.

Greatly expanding road capacity to handle all vehicles during peak hours would be impracticable because the Government would have to widen roads by demolishing many buildings, cutting down trees and turning every city and town into a giant concrete slab.

And, of course, those roads would then be grossly underutilised during non-peak hours.

Perhaps the best solution is to stop or slow down the importation of second-hand vehicles.

Let the mass of vehicles lying in all the dealers yards be sold first and then introduce measures where only a number of vehicles could be imported at any one time.

For while the Government spends millions of dollars in upgrading and widening roads, as done in the Suva-Nausori corridor and from Nadi Airport to Denarau Island, the car dealers’ bank accounts are growing with every vehicle sale.

CHARLES CHAMBERS

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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