So our government is thinking about increasing the taxes, duties and other fees levied on vehicles. I suppose that that, in some ways, is inevitable. The number of vehicles plying on our city roads has increased drastically. And it’s already difficult to find proper parking spaces. So, unless something serious is done about it, we would have to deal with many traffic problems, including regular traffic jams.
But I wonder if our government has thought about the most obvious way to control traffic congestion: scrap the import quota system. Import quotas, which are given only to public servants, are directly responsible for the growth in vehicle numbers. Every quota is used. And, it’s common knowledge that, many times, the quotas are sold, illegally, to private individuals.
So discontinue import quotas. And replace them with a sensible allowance built into the salaries of public servants. That would cause an immediate reduction in the number of cars we purchase.
However, that won’t be enough. So taxes and duties would also have to be increased. But be careful. If the increases are meant to address traffic congestion, then apply them where the problem exists – in Thimphu and Phuentsholing. And use the money to improve and expand subsidized public transport in these cities. Most other places do not have traffic problems. In fact, their problem is quite different. They do not have adequate traffic, particularly local public transport.