Travelling by road is set to get more torrid. Mumbai added a whopping 1,86,640 vehicles to its roads between April '13 and March '14, almost two and-a-half times the average of 88,510 vehicles added every year in the 15-year span between March 1998 and March '13.
And what could be more worrying for authorities is the trend of vehicle-buying! It's now tilted heavily in favour of two-wheelers. The city currently has 23,74,038 vehicles registered at its three regional transport offices (RTOs).
In fact, of the 1,86,640 vehicles registered at Andheri, Wadala and Tardeo RTOs, 1,02,829 were two-wheelers. Mumbai's two-wheeler population has seen a jump from 3,54,799 in (financial year) 1998 to 12,35,282 by March 2013. At the moment, the city has 13,38,111 two-wheelers registered with the three RTOs. The rise in percentage of two-wheelers since March 31, 1998 stands at a whopping 277%.
The number of cars went up from 2,73,581 in 1998 to 7,28,225 as on March 31, 2014, a rise of 166% in the past 16 years.
As Thampi Kurien, general secretary, Mumbai Rickshawmen's Union, pointed out, both cars and two-wheelers are vehicles that take up road space disproportionate to the number of people they transport. Kurien procured these statistics under the Right to Information Act.
"For long the general assumption has been that it's taxis and auto-rickshaws that pollute. However, data show that it's the petrol-powered two-wheelers and diesel/petrol cars that pollute city roads more," said Kurien.
On safety aspect Kurien said: "We in the rickshaw trade believe two-wheeler drivers are the most dangerous, and with newer and more powerful bikes coming into the market, roads are going to become unsafer."
Data shows that of the 1,86,640 vehicles registered in Mumbai, the biggest chunk of 86,554 was at Andheri RTO; Wadala came second at 51,725, and Tardeo third at 48,361.
No. of vehicles as on March 31, 2014: 23,74,038
No. of vehicles registered in 2013-14: 1,86,640
No. of vehicles as on March 31, 1998: 85,9734
No. of two-wheelers as on March 31, 2014: 13,38,111
No. of cars on March 31, 2014: 7,28,225