When the second round of the odd-even scheme starts on April 15, there will be two changes from the successful first round that may make all the difference.
One, schools will be open. And two, the fortnight-long road-rationing plan will take off just as the summer starts to hot up.
The challenge facing the government is how parents will drop their children to school and pick them up. In answer to this, Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia tweeted on Wednesday that cars with children in school uniforms will be exempt — along with women drivers, VIPs, two-wheelers and CNG vehicles.
Cars carrying student(s) in school uniform shall be exempted during #oddeven starting 15th April.— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) April 6, 2016
But that takes care of only half the problem, the government realised soon after. “When children are being driven to school or back home, the plan works. But what happens when parents are driving after dropping their children or going to fetch them from school? We are still looking for a solution,” said Delhi transport minister Gopal Rai.
Private school principals in the city say 50% of their students are dropped and picked up by their parents.
With schools open, the government will also miss the 366 school buses it had used to boost its public transport fleet during the first odd-even scheme that ran from January 1 to January 15.
Then, there’s the weather factor. Delhiites took to public transport with enthusiasm in the January cold, but they may not feel the same about getting on to a crowded bus or in an autorickshaw in the latter half of April when the mercury swings between the late 30s and early 40s.
Under the restrictions — aimed at bringing down pollution in Delhi, the city with the foulest air in the world according to WHO — vehicles with registration numbers ending in odd digits can ply on odd dates and those ending in even digits on even dates. The fine for defaulters remains Rs 2,000.