Road rage, under-age driving and fatal car crashes notwithstanding, Delhi drivers believe that the Capital is the best city in India to drive in. According to a survey conducted by Synovate Research to find out which city has the best driving experience, Delhi came out on top while ‘Garden City’ Bangalore ended at the bottom of the pile. Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai were ‘average’ but driver satisfaction was higher among four-wheel drivers in Kolkata and Mumbai than car drivers in Chennai.
What makes Delhi such a driver’s delight? Of the 138 people interviewed, a staggering 88 per cent believe Delhiites adhere to traffic rules. An equal number say awareness of traffic rules is high in the Capital.
The findings have come as a shock to Autocar editor and car expert Hormazd Sorabjee. “The infrastructure is far better in Delhi. But as someone who lives in Mumbai, I find anarchy on Delhi roads.” The survey was conducted for the CNBC-TV18 Autocar awards.
“Driving in Mumbai is less stressful. There is a sense of discipline mixed with a sense of resignation to spending long hours in the commute,” says Sorabjee. “Jumping traffic lights appears to be a norm in Delhi.”
Delhi drivers don’t agree. They rate their city highly on several parameters: functioning of traffic lights (86 per cent were happy with it); wide roads, night-time signage and the trees planted along the roads (83 per cent satisfaction).
By contrast, those who drive in Bangalore are unhappy with their city for several reasons. Only two per cent respondents believe the city is safe to drive in (in Delhi, 80 per cent were convinced with driving safety). Five per cent were dissatisfied with the frequency of pollution checks.
Environmental issues clearly are a concern with drivers. Of the 120 people interviewed in Ahmedabad, 67 per cent were satisfied with the diminishing pollution. In Kolkatta, drivers said the rising pollution took the joy out of driving in the City of Joy: only 13 per cent were satisfied with anti-pollution measures.
Synovate Head of Motor Research Rahul Verma, 35, says the study reflects the strides that Delhi has made in transport infrastructure. “Individual parameters are merely indicative of the general mood of drivers. Mumbai’s scores are not high across most parameters and Bangaloreans are clearly upset with the state of transport in their city.”
Geetam Tiwari, associate professor for transport planning at IIT, Delhi concedes that the infrastructure for car drivers in the city is indeed the best in the country. “That is why we have the highest vehicular speeds and also the most number of fatal accidents. The annual number of fatal accidents in other metros is about one fourth that of Delhi. But less than 15 per cent households in the city who own cars enjoy this infrastructure,” she points out.
“Road-wise there is nothing that matches up to Delhi. But the study is indicative and relative to the situation in other cities,” says Ajay Chacko, head, marketing, CNBC Universe.
Interviews for the survey were carried out among vehicle owners and drivers across Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Bangalore. The target audience was 720 people aged between 18-45 years with an economic profile of Sec A/B.