Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bat-Uul’s Plan to Reduce Traffic

We have a plan (at last).

Today Mayor Bat-Uul announced his plan to reduce traffic. Here are the main points:

1. Government workers must now take public transportation to work.

2. A staggered system of driving is being put in place for all central Roads (between the Ikh Toiruu and Narany Zam). Here is how it will work. If your license plate ends with 1 or 6 you can drive on Mondays. If your license plate ends in 2 or 7 you can’t drive on Tuesday. If your plate ends in 3 or 8 you can’t drive on Wednesday. If your plate ends in 4 or 9 you can’t drive on Thursday and if your plate ends in 5 or 0 you can’t drive on Friday.

3. Public schools will get school buses to take kids to school.

4. Tow trucks will be purchased to haul away illegally parked cars.

5. More paid parking lots to be established.

All of this will be in effect from Aug 25 to Oct 25 for a trial period.

This all sounds well and good.  I hope it helps. But there are a couple of issues here.

First, it seems too easy for government workers to cheat. They could still drive to work and just park in a lot other than their office lot. One way to fix this would be to give them a sort of bus pass, that they have to get punched or scanned by the bus conductor, to prove that they did indeed take the bus.

Second, it is not clear yet what is the punishment for violating the rule on driving if you happen to drive your car on the day you are not supposed to. Will there be a fine? If there is no fine then the plan won’t work at all. There should be a 50,000 tugrik fine for violators and the money they raise could be used to  pave more roads.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mounting Garbage Problems

The garbage problems in Ulaanbaatar seems to have gotten worse this summer, with large mounds of trash piling up in some courtyards. Seems like the city has lost control of this mounting garbage problem. Adding a few dozen waste bins around the courtyards would help, so scenes like the one below can be fixed - it would at least solve the problem of trash getting scattered around the parking lots. The city should also have a law against littering. For example, if a citizen knew they could be fined for littering, say 5000 tugrik, perhaps they would look for a garbage can rather than just dropping their trash on the street.