. . . thus sayeth the Bangalore Traffic Police.
Still in awe (and doubt) of the stat that only 6-7% of trips are done by private vehicle, I went a-searchin’ for stats on vehicle ownership. Instead, I found the proudly Orwellian website of the BTP, which proudly displays the blackberries, interceptor vehicles, and computerized control center the BTP will use to bust red light runners, drunk drivers, unpaid-ticket-scofflaws, and other roadside ne’er-do-wells. You thought red light cameras were creepy? The BTP is apparently empowered to confiscate your vehicle on the spot if their tap into the BTP database reveals unacceptable unpaid tickets.
The BTP is on a kick to impose orderly driving on the city. This could be to reduce serious accidents (which are actually on the decline, thanks to congestion-induced speed reductions), to improve mobility — to solve with driving discipline what it’s failing to solve with policy or infrastructure — or just make being on the roads a less stressful place to be. Anyway, a couple weeks back, it launched a “lane discipline” campaign to teach Bangalorean drivers the fine art of picking a lane and sticking to it, rather than charging forward into whatever crevasse you can find or create. The campaign is off to a rocky start, with drivers confused about what all those orange cones are doing there in the middle of the street. Apparently the jolly billboards of penguins and ducklings the BTP used to introduce the concept will take some time — or some hundred-rupee tickets — to sink in.