A section of pool car owners ferrying students to and from South Point and other schools in south Kolkata has decided to drop off children from the day section at Ballygunge Place and move towards Bijon Setu. The drivers have been asked to take a U-turn from under the bridge and return to pick up kids when the morning session gets over.
The decision — originally taken before the summer break and being implemented in stages, with maximum participation on Monday — is likely to benefit hundreds of residents of Swinhoe Street, Anil Moitra Lane and Cornfield Road even though this led to a traffic jam in the area.
Officers from the southeast traffic guard said they were pressing for maximum cars to be parked at the KMC parking lots available around Ekdalia Park, Bijon Setu and Ballygunge Place. “We have suggested four spots and we are happy that the pool car association is responding to our plea,” said a senior police officer. Cops though reminded that it would take time to get things sorted out. “We know that pool cars are still parking on Anil Moitra Lane and Cornfield Road. But we are ensuring that no car gets blocked. In addition, we are allowing parking only around the school dispersal time,” said a sergeant on duty at the spot.
“While police are harping on staggered dispersals, it has come as a challenge for us. Any pool car carries at least eight to 15 students. If they have a staggered timing, we need to wait for all of them to board the car. Often this gap extends between 15 minutes to half-an-hour (for students from Nursery I to Transition in South Point, the wait time is between 11.15am and 11.45am). After picking up one set of students, doing the rounds to pick up another set is impossible given the excess use of fuel, pollution and clogging of main roads like Rash Behari Avenue and Syed Amir Ali Avenue (as witnessed on Monday). However, we are still taking this round trip so that no locals feel inconvenienced,” said Arupam Dutta, secretary of the association.
Locals like Kalyan Sen though point out that pool car drivers need to be better behaved to expect cooperation. “We are senior citizens who have grandsons and granddaughters. We certainly do not want to inconvenience students. We are just saying that these drivers need to cooperate when they block our main doors and garages. They just cannot go on pressing the horn as they please,” said Sen.
Cops said that pool car drivers enjoy a lot more relaxation than any other public transport. “We often do not fine them hoping that students travelling in pool cars is not inconvenienced. We will speak to pool cab owners and extend our support. Now that a system is in place, we will appeal to all sides to extend their cooperation,” said a senior traffic cop at Lalbazar.
The cops may meet the guardians of students to find an amicable solution to the long-lasting problem. “We will request the school to ask guardians to park their vehicles only at designated areas,” said an officer.
Dutta said they too want a solution. “We need time and a fixed spot to pick up children. The problem lies with private vehicles that lead to congestion in the area. We are ready for a long-term solution,” said Dutta.
Earlier in January, South Point has asked parents and guardians to park their vehicles only in designated parking spots in Ballygunge in a place notified by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
Source: Times Of India