Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has urged people to carpool instead of taking the bus or Metro on the days the odd-even policy is in force, saying public transport was expecting a huge rush.
In a radio jingle on the road-rationing scheme that will run in the city between January 1 and 15, he also said the government had procured 3,000 extra buses for this period — half the number promised earlier.
“If you use a car, find a partner to carpool with as buses and the Metro will be quite crowded on those days. While we have arranged for 3,000 extra buses, it would be better to share a car with a neighbour or a friend till January 15,” goes the jingle.
A government spokesperson, however, denied the CM’s appeal was contradictory to the main idea of the odd-even scheme — to encourage car owners to switch to public transport.
“Enough public transport arrangements have been made to meet the expected additional demand. But there are many people in the city who have always used cars for their daily commute. The government is exploring innovative measures to persuade this group. Carpooling is one such measure,” he said.
Unveiling the blueprint for the scheme on December 23, Kejriwal had said 4,000 buses would be hired from private operators and 2,000 from schools to share the load of the Delhi Transport Corporation’s fleet of 6,000 buses.
This number has been scaled down by half within a week, a move coinciding with several school associations moving court refusing to spare buses for the scheme.
But transport minister Gopal Rai assured commuters the 3,000 extra buses would be enough as close to 5.2 million two-wheelers — the biggest chunk of private vehicles in Delhi — were exempt from the road-rationing initiative.
In an interview to HT last week, Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari had expressed apprehension about the scheme, saying, “I don’t want to be seen as criticising the state government’s initiative but without ensuring proper availability of public transport, such plans can end up inconveniencing the public.”