An increase in public transport services is expected on Tuesday to cater to the increased demand as more residents and corporate firms will join the weekly car-free day.
On the first car-free Tuesday held last week, many were unsure about the availability of increased public transport options and extra shuttle services, initiated by private groups. Residents say there is an urgent need to improve public transport and last mile connectivity in the city.
“It is difficult to commute between Dwarka and Gurgaon every day. There is no metro connectivity and there is hardly any bus service. To catch the buses that run from Sector 9 or 21, I need to take an autorickshaw. I have to wait for long if I miss the bus,” said Ankita Singh, a corporate executive who commutes from Dwarka in New Delhi to Golf Course Road in Gurgaon every day.
The existing number of city buses in Gurgaon is insufficient and their reach is limited with very few buses plying in New Gurgaon. This results in an inefficient and unreliable bus service. Experts say that buses are essential for Gurgaon roads but authorities have not yet developed an efficient city bus service.
“The public transport spectrum in Gurgaon ranges from world-class metro to shared diesel-run autorickshaws that pollute the environment. The missing piece is the availability of a high quality city bus system that will form the backbone of public transportation. It is essential for a city like Gurgaon to have good intra-city bus service,” said Amit Bhatt, strategy head, integrated urban transport at EMBARQ India.
Sources say that while the plans for a city bus service have been developed by the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) two months ago, it is stuck in limbo due to indifference from the state headquarters.
“A comprehensive plan for a city bus service has been sent for approval two months ago. It suggests the introduction of 500 new buses, to have about 50 buses per one lakh commuters. However, there has been no response and the file is awaiting approval,” an official said.
Besides, bus queue shelters in Gurgaon are yet to see the light of day due to controversies related to advertising on these sheds and problems of land acquisition.
According to the Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP) for the Gurgaon-Manesar Urban Complex (GMUC), 33% of the total trips are made by non-motorised transport (NMT) vehicles. However, the city lacks infrastructure for NMT.
The IMP also suggests several changes that need to be made for better traffic management and improvement of public transport. However, none of these have been implemented yet.
For this, the Gurgaon traffic police and the city’s private sector, along with HT, have started weekly car-free days when four IT corridors — Netaji Subhash Marg, Electronic City in Udyog Vihar, Golf Course Road and Cyber City — will go car-free every Tuesday.
As commuters plan to leave behind cars and use non-motorised and public transport, the administration has increased the frequency of buses, carpools and autorickshaws.