The proposed pod taxi project in the city has been widely promulgated as the country’s first-of-its-kind personal rapid transport system. While it might have been a showpiece for the government, Gurgaon residents who spend a few hours every day in jams, looked up to the project as a solution to their commuting woes.
Residents considered pod taxi as a mode of connectivity that could ferry them to their destination in less time, curtail their expenses and cover routes that the Delhi Metro does not.
The much talked about project, however, is now in limbo. The construction work of the project was to take off in March but its pre-tender had no takers and the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) has scrapped the first expression of interest (EOI).
As the MCG has now decided to appoint a technical advisor to assist in planning and documentation, HT spoke to residents across the city about their expectations from the project.
Chakradhar Shah, Sector 51
Chakradhar is a bank manager of a housing finance company in Pitampura. Covering 44 kilometres between office and home consumes four hours of his day.
For him, the pod taxi would save over 90 minutes of travel time.
“Rajiv Chowk is a 10-minute journey from my residence. Presumably, the journey on pod taxi till Dhaula Kuan will take less than 30 minutes. From there, a cab to office will take another 30 minutes. Overall, the distance from my residence to office can be covered in 70 to 80 minutes instead of a two-hour journey,” Shah said.
Shah, who frequently travels abroad for holidays, said residents living in northern parts of the city might avail of the pod service to visit the passport office in Udyog Vihar Phase 4.
Jiya Sharma, Civil Lines
For Jiya, the Ambience Mall located near Sirhaul toll plaza on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway is her favourite weekend entertainment hub.
She travels to and fro on cabs as the two points do not have a metro service or a public bus service. The cab journey costs over Rs 100 one way and the varying traffic does not give her any certainty over the travel time.
Read I Gurgaon: Pod taxi project inching towards reality
“During rush hours, getting a cab is a difficulty. Most cabs are already taken and if I manage to get one, the charges will be high and it can take more than 15 minutes to reach the pick-up point. Rajiv Chowk is barely 15 minutes from my residence and travelling on pod taxi to Ambience Mall (there is a scheduled stop there on the route map) may just take 10 minutes. Once the pod taxi starts, it guarantees that I can reach my destination at a fixed time,” Jiya said.
Pallavi Sinha, Sector 55
Pallavi teaches at the primary section of Shikshantar School, and her five-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son also study there.
Pallavi’s residence is frequented by relatives living across the country and abroad. She often has to commute to the Indira Gandhi Airport for picking or dropping her family there.
She is hopeful that the pod taxi service till Dhaula Kuan, where there is a metro station of the Airport Express Line, will end her commuting problems.
“There is no direct connection to the airport from Gurgaon other than travelling on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway. The stretch has heavy traffic and the travelling time can vary from 30 to 70 minutes. Hence, managing between work and family gets difficult. The pod taxi service can come as a major relief and reduce the struggle of balancing between work and family,” Pallavi said.
Bhanu Sharma, Sector 11
Bhanu who is pursuing an undergraduate degree in economics at Kirori Mal College in Delhi University says the pod taxi service will give her an opportunity to minimise her daily travelling cost.
She was one of the first time voters in the 2014 general elections. In the election, Bhanu voted for an independent candidate as the candidate promised more modes of public transport in her constituency.
“As a college student, my daily trip to Huda City Centre Metro station, which connects to Delhi University on the Yellow Line, costs nearly Rs 250. Travelling between home and the metro station in a private cab makes up more than 60% of my travel cost. Rajiv Chowk is less than a kilometre from my residence, the pod taxi from there till Dhaula Kuan and a bus journey to the University will cumulatively cost less than Rs 100,” Bhanu said.
Poda taxi in its pilot phase will have a 12.3-km stretch from New Delhi-Haryana border to Subash Chowk via Rajiv Chowk on Sohna Road. In the second phase, it is expected to be extended to Dhaula Kuan and Manesar on each side.