Hit by cab strike, Gurgaon commuters set their hopes on new projects
Rapid Metro, public bus service and Pod taxis is likely to boost the sorry state of Gurgaon’s public transportgurgaon Updated: Feb 27, 2017 11:07 IST
The disruption of app-based cab services of Ola and Uber due to the strike by cab drivers’ associations yet again brought Gurgaon’s dire need for integrated public transport facilities to the fore.
Gurgaon has limited last mile-connectivity and the metro services cover only eleven stations in the city. On arterial routes, commuters can only rely on cabs and auto-rickshaws that ply without metres.
The proposed public bus service, expansion of the metro route, Rapid metro and provision of POD taxis are some of the projects that the Gurgaon residents are eagerly awaiting in the hope of some relief.
Public bus service
Of the many transportation woes that the residents are faced with, the one that sticks out like a sore thumb is that a city of over 10 lakh people does not have a public bus service. However, the same cannot be blamed on the lack of public or government interest, as multiple proposals have been mooted and approved over the years and even nodal agencies were named to get these projects off the ground. However, for one reason or another, none of these projects came to fruition.
However, though belatedly, the authorities seems to have finally woken up to the city’s dire need for public transportation facilities. Last year, the committee of secretaries on infrastructure sanctioned 500 buses for Gurgaon. Forty five per cent of these are to be air-conditioned.
A new special purpose vehicle service has also been mooted for commuters. The service will be run by the Greater Gurgaon Urban Transport Services Limited .
During a public meeting last week, Amit Khatri, additional commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG), said, “We are hoping to roll out a public bus service with a fleet of 500 buses by this December. We are doing everything we can to meet this deadline.”
However, the proposal to roll out this bus service is still awaiting clearance by the Haryana government. It remains to be seen whether this proposal will meet the same fate as some of the earlier ones did.
The second phase of the Rapid Metro is expected to open in the first quarter of 2017. Presently, construction workers are at the spot giving ‘finishing touches’ to the project.
This line is vital for those living on the Golf Course road, Phase 4 and Phase 1 that are bereft of direct metro connectivity and need to travel till the Sikanderpur metro station on Delhi Metro’s Yellow Line route.
The second phase starts from Bristol Chowk till Golf Course Extension T-junction. Besides upscale residential colonies, many corporate offices, hospitals and high-end automobile showrooms are located on the stretch.
Rapid Metro officials estimate that more than 20,000 people will travel daily while the second phase of the Rapid Metro is up and running.
“The project is in the final stages of completion and the processes of securing requisite approvals to start commercial operations at the earliest have also been initiated. Over 95% of the overall project has been completed,” a spokesperson of Rapid Metro said.
It is an ambitious, first-of-its-kind personal rapid transport project in the country. In the first phase of the project, a 12.3 km track from New Delhi-Haryana border to Subash Chowk via Rajiv Chowk on Sohna Road will be made.
This particular route does not have any metro connectivity and while the cabs were off the roads over the last couple of weeks, the commuters had nothing apart from auto-rickshaws, plying without metres, to rely on.
Should it come fruition, the proposed POD taxi project could offer an alternative mode of transport for the commuters here.
Samar Sharma, a resident of Civil Lines, said, “The closest metro station is nearly 5 km away. While the taxi strike was on, I had to rely on auto-rickshaws that run without metres. However, not very many of these were around at the time and the ones that were plying often refused independent passengers. Without any other alternative, I was forced to cram in with others in shared auto-rickshaws during this time. The POD taxi service could put an end to my everyday struggle as the proposed depot at Rajiv Chowk is only a kilometre away from my residence and could help me reach the metro station a lot faster.”
The project, though, is yet to take off in earnest. The construction of the track was to begin in March. The MCG had invited tenders for the project, but they found few takers. This prompted the MCG to cancel the project’s first expression of interest and appoint a technical advisor for planning and documentation.
Voices from Gurgaon:
“The fact that a disruption in one mode of service affected the city to this extent, only goes to show the sorry state of public transportation here. While Uber and Ola do not provide much respite, we were further inconvenienced while the cabs were off the roads. For those who can’t drive or don’t have cars, it was especially difficult to get by. Travelling short distances was a costly affair as the rickshaws were not available and auto drivers charged exorbitant fares. The metro wasn’t a viable option either as it connects only a few areas of Gurgaon,” Srishti Sharma, a public relations professional, said.
“Apart from the obvious disruption of my everyday routine, it was difficult to travel anywhere in the evening. Rickshaw pullers raised their fares and the autos were barely around. The ones which were plying charged exorbitant fares. While I understand the reasons why the cab drivers called the strike, it affected me and fellow consumers. For us, it was a waste of time and money,” Tarunya Varma, a graphic designer, said.