The first ‘car-free day’ organised by the Ghaziabad RWA federation in Ghaziabad city on Wednesday was observed primarily as an awareness drive. Car owners who had come out on the roads with their vehicles had mixed reactions and raised questions about last-mile connectivity.
“We have seen news reports of car-free day in Delhi and we always thought that something like this should happen in our city as well. It is a welcome step,” said Prakriti Shandilya, a commuter going to Noida from CISF crossing.
City residents said they knew about the event, but last-mile connectivity was a major issue when it comes to implementation.
“Give us last-mile connectivity and I will completely shun the use of car to go to office, provided the agencies provide us with last-mile connectivity to the nearest metro stations. Local transport is a big issue in areas like Indirapuram,” said Sanjeev Sethi, an Indirapuram resident.
“It is a good initiative, but it is not practical as the public transport system in Ghaziabad is not as strong as in Delhi and hence car-free day might be a big failure here,” said SK Aftab, a resident of Vasundhara.
Last month, the UP state road transport corporation (UPSRTC) had started a regular metro feeder bus service from Old bus-stand to the two metro stations at Vaishali and Kaushambi. These buses have a flat fare of Rs. 10. For Wednesday’s event, the UPSRTC made arrangements at a short notice and roped in feeder buses from Central Park in Raj Nagar, Lal Kuan intersection at GT-Road/NH-24, and Govind Puram over the Hapur Road.
In addition, volunteers came forward to address residents’ questions and requested them to support the initiative.
“Car free day will be held only for one day in a month and various metro feeder buses have also been started by the roadways, which will help in last-mile connectivity to metro stations. Moreover, it is beneficial to the environment as well,” said Josh Leon, a volunteer of the RWA federation at Indirapuram.
Nearly 100 volunteers of the Ghaziabad RWA federation distributed pamphlets and offered roses to commuters at Indirapuram and Vasundhara on Wednesday morning.
“It is a humble beginning. It will take time to bring desired results. When our neighbouring cities have shown us the way, our residents should also come forward and show that they care for their city,” said Colonel (retired) TP Tyagi from the federation.
Meanwhile, another residents’ body, the federation of apartment owners’ association (FED-AOA) at Indirapuram, also welcomed the move.
“It is a good initiative in the interest of the city and its residents. We will support the initiative to help curb traffic congestion and air pollution,” said Alok Kumar, from FED-AOA.
“We have sent a proposal to the regional transport department for 250 e-rickshaws. It will be put up before the regional transport authority for clearance. The move will help improve last-mile connectivity once the proposal is cleared,” said Amar Singh, superintendent of police (traffic) at Ghaziabad.