If commuters complain that the hallmarks of a good public transport system — accessibility, safety, affordability, reliability and last mile connectivity — are missing in Noida, they are not wrong.
A city with a population of nearly 10 lakh people depends on autorickshaws, jam-packed and unpunctual buses and cycle-rickshaws for intra-city movement.
While over 150 buses run by Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) have been addressing the issue to some extent but they are largely used for commuting between Noida and Delhi.
“How can a commuter rely on a DTC bus when they stop at will on the city roads? I had written to the DTC officials in January 2013 to check arbitrary stopping of buses plying on the road leading to Sector 12-22. DTC chief general manager AK Goyal issued a circular on January 14, 2013 to the depot managers to direct all drivers to ensure that the buses stop only at designated stands and not elsewhere. But the practice continues,” said AS Parmar, a resident of Sector 55, who retired as assistant commissioner of police, Delhi.
When Noida got the Metro rail service nearly a decade after neighbouring Delhi got one, the locals thought it would end their travel miseries. It has certainly provided a comfortable connectivity between Noida and Delhi. But it has failed to address the issue of last mile connectivity as the commuters have to still rely on unsafe auto-rickshaws for reaching the Metro station or way back home.
In the absence of a reliable public transport, commuters board private buses at their own risk. “They wait for long for passengers to board them until they are filled up completely. Then to make for lost time, they drive rash,” said Het Ram, a resident of Barola.
Women passengers are the worst sufferers. “I got a co-passenger who was stinking of alcohol at 9 in the morning. The second time, the bus conductor entered into a fight with a passenger over the fare issue. I have decided never to board a private bus,” said Seema Chaudhary, a resident of Ashok Nagar.
Noida authority has proposed a city bus service that will have 100 CNG-run buses to take care of the intra-city movement as well as to provide a feeder bus service for Metro rail commuters.
As for the availability of CNG, there are seven Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL)-run filling stations and one each in DTC depot and UPSRTC depot. Besides these, CNG is also available at petrol pumps run by various oil marketing companies across Noida.An IGL spokesman said that Noida authority is going to provide the fuel company some land in the proposed bus depot for setting up a captive CNG station for fuelling their buses.