Can carpooling reduce traffic problems in Mauritius?

The increasing number of vehicles on our roads has made the situation worse. Over 350,000 vehicles in our small island. Can you imagine? But what makes you even crazier is the traffic jams while heading to and from the capital.

A series of new roads have been announced to alleviate this traffic problem : The construction of roads/lanes will only shift the traffic jam right at the entry of the capital. They have been talking of the “metro-leger” project and bus lanes since years. Yet, nothing for now.

At some point in time, there was some talk going on about making a “Péage” system to enter Port Louis. According to them, this will encourage people to use the public transport system, which is frankly unreliable and uncomfortable. (Remember the post about Cockroaches in buses?) We can also add “unsafe” to the list, especially with some CNT buses recently in the headlines after a few accidents caused by brake fails and also, when a piece of the bus flew right into a car, killing the driver.

Now, let’s come back to Car Pooling. You should first get the picture of what I am trying to say :

You are stuck in a traffic jam. You notice loads of vehicles in which the only person is the driver.

You have most probably witnessed this scene several times. If you happen to see 4-5 of them, they are not only occupying 4 additional spaces on the road, but also, 4 additional parking slots in the city. Since all of them are heading towards the same destination, a single car could have been much more appropriate, economical and less painful for other road users.

traffic jam

Okay, I am not asking to fill every car up to the maximum capacity of 5-6 people like those large overloaded taxis mostly from the eastern region . We should be realist. Car Pooling can only be advantageous in every way. Nothing is wrong in sharing your car (and the cost) with your neighbours or friends who are also travelling to the same destination :

  • Less vehicles on the roads
  • Shared cost
  • Less driving stress
  • Environmentally friendly (Ile Maurice, Ile Durable concept?)

Bus services cannot really complain about this practice until they offer a good and reliable service. Many people, including myself, rarely travel by bus for the same reasons mentioned earlier.

The government should encourage car pooling but it is unfortunate that the people at the head of the authorities never thought of this idea because who would even think to share their population-paid Mercedes or BMW car with somebody else?

btw, do you (or are you willing) to do car pooling with your surroundings?

What do you think?

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  • a lot of the cars are not going at p.l. They just need to pass through p.l to get on the other side. The authorities didn’t think of car pooling because this will not generate revenues for them! ! 3rdly,encourage people to leave their car and travel by bus? Ha! Most people didnt buy a car ‘pou met dan musé’ but rather to use it. 4th, the buses have a poor comfortable level and are usually dirty.

  • Mike

    Public transport sucks here. I use the BlueLine to go to PL but we get stuck in traffic even before getting on the motorway. Many years ago the bus trip from Vacoas to PL used to take about 30mins. Today we get stuck at La Louise Vacoas and it takes 50mins to 1hr to get to PL. Car pooling is not possible for me and I started using taxis due to unsafe and slow buses here. My interpretation of Express and the bus company’s understanding of that word are very different. I doubt if the new roads and widening of the motorway will completely solve the problem. There is an urgent need for an alternative and reliable public transport system. The authorities have been talking about that for years and now the problem has got worse.

  • Dvil

    of course it can! li assez logik ki li pou reduire nombre de voitures. depi mo dan 6eme ban profs p dire ki bizin faire sa . mais ene tas dimoun pas kmpren sa . ene lot zafer encore.. universite… to vraiment croire ki tout sa zelev la bizin pren zot lauto vine universite??

  • TL

    mo conner bus-pulling augment traffic

  • spddd

    It never going to happen because the possibility that you live in a place, and you are not familiar with other people that go to Port-Louis and take them with you. In villages, it can be common but in towns, each family live on their own etc.

    The best solution is the “Péage” system to enter port louis (for specific time), and encouraging people to use the bus, but the good ones like the blue line CNT air con buses or UBS air con ones, and government should help to finance bus companies in this direction instead of buying the normal buses.

  • le_voyageur

    some people are used to it in the north, my own brother go to work in somebody else car though ena 2 loto kot me .. lol .. ene grand lavantage sa in the long run in term of saving money, making the island less polluted but if people are late in the morning la li kav vinne ene problem 🙁 .. and me bro, zot a 4 dan l’auto la, tou les 4 ena ene masine dan lacour, so each week saken amene so masine p.louis .. this reduces xtra kms for the vehicle ..

  • din3sh

    Car pooling seems to be a social solution and would require vehicle owners driving to PL to play the game. It can’t be applied as a law as such. I don’t think of such a measure to be a good one because:

    – As someone rightly pointed out, rural and urban regions live differently to some extent. In rural areas, you tend to know a bunch of people living nearby while in urban areas, some people don’t even know their own neighbours. You can’t share a vehicle with people you barely know just for the sake of having less traffic jam. It makes sense to drive a group of people in same social circle/proximity as you. Even this also has some constraints.

    – Say you do share a vehicle with your neighbours/friends. That would restrict you to the home-office-home travel. You wouldn’t be free to drive to a food court or buy groceries as you’d do if you were alone after work.

    – Sharing the same destination is not the only thing to consider. What about the different working hours of the group of people in the car? All of them would be required to have roughly same working hours.

    – If such a measure is used widely, next thing you know, taxi owners could “monte au créneau” to denounce private car being used as taxis 😉

  • CoolBoy

    @Yashvin: Thats your own opinion. You should be more specific. Not all buses are dirty. How about the coaches that they use as buses? They are as comfortable as cars and they have air conditioning. Some even have LCD TVs and some provide newspaper to read.

    I personaly prefer individual buses. They are more spacious than a car, more illuminated as they have big windows and this gives a wonderful panoramic view of the sea when you decend to port louis, from the south (maybe I’m exagerating).

    You say buses are slowing down the traffic? Do the math. Suppose 4 people travel in the same car, we would need 15 cars to get them to destination in one go but we would need only one bus to do the same thing.
    I think I’ve already posted this photo before.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nblloyd/3399179623

    Don’t get me wrong. I know the old NTC buses that are still in traffic are the worst public transport in Mauritius but its not a reason to generalise things.

    @Tushal: Its not about “don’t drive your car and use public transport”. Its rather about DON’T BUY A CAR in the first place.

    A lane specialy for buses will be a good thing but, anyway – Soon, people of the south going to the north will not have to pass through port louis anymore but, instead, south > Reduit > Saint Pierre > then directly to the north.

  • @CoolBoy: I am not asking to replace all buses (or coaches) by cars. I think that you have wrongly understood me.

    And I can’t see why or who can prevent someone from purchasing a car. That’s his right. However, we can encourage people to use fewer cars by paid entrance to some region/paid roads etc but car pooling is more about encouraging people to travel by car, together with their neighbour, colleague or a friend.

    btw, just to clear a small point : I don’t have the impression that you are the “CoOlB0Y” who greatly commented on a previous post, are you?

    @Mike: Oh! La Louise! That’s like hell and I usually do alternate roads whenever I see a traffic jam ahead!

    @spddd: You have a point here, but most often, car pooling can work great with colleagues. Most often, you know where your colleagues work and with the same office working hours, car pooling should be privileged.

    Think it company-wise:
    Less cars = Less parking slots to cater for.

    @le_voyageur: Thumbs up to your bro and Co.

    @din3sh: It is not really a measure or a law as such. Just a practical thing that only has its advantages.

    btw, no one really quoted negative points abt car pooling. Anyone?

  • CoolBoy

    I’ve never said you did either.

    Of course everyone can buy a car if they wish. No one is preventing anybody from doing so. What I’m saying is that they have the CHOICE to not buy a car, for the sake of the environment (and circulation), for a better world…

    You wrote that yourself – “environmentally friendly”, indirectly meaning less cars means less polution. What I said is even lesser cars means even lesser polution.

    And no, Sir. I’m CoolBoy, not CoOlB0Y. (Sorry for the confusion. It was the only thing that came into my mind).

  • CoolBoy

    you wanted a negative point about car pooling?

    Safety.

    There already has been this problem in the past where strangers harm taxi drivers with knife.

    Now, car pooling is about strangers getting into ANY car and its legal.
    Think of the consequences.

  • Shalini

    you could all use buses.. by buses i should prob. mean good buses, like proper buses! xD 🙂 a bit of ‘good’ public transport would do some good for the economy as well.. since im not too much familiar with pl and the roads and all, cant say much.. but surely the ”good proper public transport” could reduce those traffics.. esp, if there’s a chance of bus lanes! 🙂

  • Sun

    Hey, excellent post. In fact, i’ve been thinking about this solution for quite sometime. I didnt know it was called carpooling. As a matter of fact, YES it would solve the traffic problem very efficiently!!

    However, for all the advantages that exist, their is one main disadvantage, the problem of TRUST. Most people wont allow strangers to hop in their car. Take Tushal for example , he would go like “Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzz! My car, my petrol, blabla”

    It simply wouldnt work in mauritius. Especially in areas like RocheBois 🙂

    On another level of thought, their is actually a huge trust between drivers when the need arises. Simple examples would be,

    1. When you are driving on a two way, you trust that the cars coming from the opposite direction wont come in your lane. You trust.

    2. When you are driving, you trust that the car infront of you wont just stop for nothing in the middle of the fast lane. You trust.

    But hey, there would be abuse. There wont be any safety. The only solution would be to have a CCTV in every car. HAHA. 😛

  • T0rped0

    @Sun:

    To answer to this, actually (I think) abroad it’s advertised on Craigslist or Facebook or something like that, where non-anonymous people can meet online to discuss about the carpooling arrangement (pickup place and time towards the City and, if available, for the return trip as well), it’s not at all like offering an impromptu free ride to a complete stranger.

    My only fear is that if I do offer a ride to another driver(s), I may get may killed because of my propensity to
    (1) drive below speed limits (it’s a maximum speed limit, right?),
    (2) stop at traffic lights showing yellow
    (3) criticise openly other drivers who do not respect the above and any combination of parking where it’s forbidden, encroaching on opposite lanes, no lane discipline on round-abouts, special/temporary traffic diversions etc
    (4) showing no mercy to pedestrians either crossing outside crossings or walking outside pavements
    (5) shouting at police officers who do not know basic traffic regulations (often seen at Chébel / Tulsi Sham: ti bolom-blé donne signe pou rentre dans main road, mais li pa’nn arett traffic lor main road-la avant)

    To all those who may be insulting me for being so obdurate with rules and regulations: Thank you. Just a reminder that I like to tell those I happen to confront: “Karvé mon cher / madame? La-loi la pas bon? Abé alle guette TO gouvernement!”

    One last thing: during the +1hr, trip, what’s the choice of music / radio station: “Faites comme chez vous” or “I drive, therefore I choose”??? For my part, it’s almost always METAL or news on Radio-Sousou. Never rwaiy-dji-owouaaann (the bloody snobs always airing songs from french pseudo-artists of star-academy, a la recherche de la nouvelle star etc…)

    Yes, I’m a very poor car-pooling host.

  • @CoolBoy, @Sun: : The aim is not to carry strangers in your cars. It’s more about your surrounding, friends or colleagues, people you trust.

    I agree that it might depend whether you live in urban or rural areas, but the “car pooling” concept is a reality, even in Mauritius.

  • Car Pooling is a good practice.

    However there are also some criteria like:
    1. who’s car is going to be used on which day, rarely we see people reaching an agreement.
    2. Not everyone will leave home or office at the same time and this is one factor discouraging car pooling.

    However if people who can reach a decision, eventually they get along well and agree to the specific time and days.

  • Anyway I prefer to use the bus since it’s cheaper and less stressful… 😛

  • din3sh

    it works out for me, I share my car with…myself 😀

  • Vins

    Tsk! So, i would leave my car at home and get in someone else’s car? Ha! Most people didnt buy a car ‘pu met dan musé’. But rather to use it.

  • T0rped0

    For my part, we are going to HAVE to carpool in two weeks’ time because by then we’ll be transferred to our new offices which are located far away from bus lines: we’ll need to pick up our colleagues from Coromandel and merrily commute to La Tour Koenig Industrial Park.

    By the way, I’ve got a fresh example of bad faith yesterday: In reaction to the concept of car-pooling, a guy said something in the lines that since he (likes to brag about) paid a lot more money than another in getting his hands on his dream car (a BMW 320d), why should he carpool with some “underachiever” who happens to commute in the same traffic hours and work near his place oof work but can only afford a Mitsubishi Galant? I almost vomitted on the bloke…

    It’s this kind of self-centred “nombrilisme” / egoism that’s killing our Mauritian way of life.

  • Avishna

    work from home

  • din3sh

    Car pooling doesn’t work out for me:

    1. I don’t drive to work at same time everyday/ I don’t leave office same time everyday.

    2. If I,like many people often go for after-work shopping or grab something to eat in food courts, wouldn’t/ can’t drag people I am car- pooling along with me.

    3. If like many people, I go to gym or for a walk after work, would be same as point 2.

    If i tried, I guess I could be a good car-pooling passenger but not good at being a car-pooling host sinon ena jour mo ban car-poolers pou bisin prend bus retourne lakaz 😀

  • luvnish

    One big problem with carpooling: Insurance!
    I heard that from a guy i was having chat with while i waited 5hrs to go on my driving license test -_-”
    It seems that some insurance wont cover your car for damages if, when you get in an accident, the people who were with you in the car werent your close relatives…
    I dont know how far it is true though.

  • Liksha Sweety

    ha ha ha car pooling……………………………….great issue to think!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • pree

    i do car pooling 🙂

  • Seryer! I do too 🙂

  • Hello Pree. Would you like to talk about your car pooling experience in a press article please?

  • selven

    I would be willing if the people do not mind listening to ONLY my kind of music. But car poolingi n itself is illegal in mauritius.

  • There’s a wide difference between car pooling and illegal transport (taxi marron).
    Car pooling implies that the cost of travelling is shared among the passengers. Sometimes it can be in terms of money or sometimes, it can be each one’s turn to take his car. There is no profit making or business in here.

  • alCosecant Maths

    Forced car pooling would be queer (If gov. decides) . . .