Monday, September 17, 2007


A measure of the popularity of a blog is finding a reference where one doesn't expect it. The original. No matter how illusory, it feels good.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Final eleven for India

My final eleven:

Virender Sehwag
Robin Uthappa
Rohit Sharma
Yuvraj Singh
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Dinesh Kartik
Joginder Sharma
Yousuf Pathan
Irfan Pathan
RP Singh

Though I suspect Gambhir will make the squad ahead of either Rohit Sharma (a pity, since he is the only Indian with a century in this form of the game) or Joginder Sharma (he is an all-rounder after all, atleast on paper).

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Traffic Congestion Charge in Mumbai?

There are plans to implement a traffic congestion charge in Mumbai, similar to the one used in London. I have a few questions.

1) Why is a GPS system needed for toll collection? I would assume a simple card reader such as EZ Pass or Toll Tag will be sufficient for such purposes.

2) After the fiasco with CAS, how will the government ensure that a similar shortage of the electronic devices will not occur?

3) How will authorities ensure that the readers are protected from vandals?

4) Given the inefficient system in place for collections in India, with legal recourse not a practical option, how will the authorities ensure that fines are collected in a timely manner? Or, for that matter, that fines are collected at all? Without resorting to hired goondas.

5) What is the financial cost for installing such a system? Does the government believe that there are enough people who will pay the fine to keep the system running on its own? Or does it believe that reduced congestion itself is enough to underwrite the system?

6) If the system is installed as a way of collecting toll for travelling on the most congested roads, what is the guarantee it is not merely shifting the congestion to other roads? After all, the existing public transport in Mumbai is not good enough for everyone to stop using their cars.

7) On a related note, does this mean that the government will collect toll on every major road in Mumbai?

8) Have the authorities analyzed the expected impact of different systems before deciding on the congestion charge? For example, a charge based on the colour of the vehicle and day of the week might be as effective in reducing congestion as the congestion charge, with the added benefit of low investment costs. (I really don't know if the colour charge can be as effective, but the question needs to be answered.)

A lot of this might sound like nit-picking, and maybe it is too. But there are always concerns about directly using ideas that work in the western nations without considering their effectiveness in Indian conditions. And governments in India could never be accused of thinking through the issues. Now that I have done my job in raising some questions, someone go through the job of finding out the answers, assuming they exist.