Buses still not enough to handle extra odd-even rush: Experts
Adding more public buses to its fleet and preparedness of the Delhi Metro will be key to the success of the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme that is likely to be implemented in November to check the rise in pollution levels.
The biggest hurdle that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government is likely to face in the implementation of the scheme is the limited number of public buses available in the city.
After the recent introduction of the first lot of 25 buses, out of the promised 4,000, the number of public buses in the national capital stands at 5,454. Delhi government’s transport department is on its way to procure 4,000 buses, all of which will be added in batches by 2020.
This means that by November — when the agencies will be facing the task of keeping half the city’s private cars from plying on the roads — Delhi will just have a little over 5,400 buses to cater to the additional rush of commuters.
In January 2016, when the first phase of odd-even was introduced in the city, there were just over 4,500 buses in the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) fleet. However, what worked in the government’s favour then was a vacation in city schools, which allowed agencies to pull school buses to ferry the increased load on public transport. Out of the total fleet of 4,564 public buses, nearly 600 were buses enrolled with schools for ferrying children, which were roped in for the first phase. Besides this, the government was also able to hire 525 out of the 1,275 private school buses, which they used.
In April that year, after schools reopened, the 600 buses were put on school duty for nearly three to four hours, besides ferrying passengers.
Amit Bhatt, director of integrated transport at the non-profit World Resources Institute (WRI) India, said that the number of public buses required still might not be enough but at least the government has begun the process of bus procurement. He said that with the exemptions made by the government, it will require to provide facilities to accommodate only about 10% of Delhi’s population and that will not be an arduous task.
“Last time the government had exempted women, two wheelers and a section of clean fuel users. This means that you have to accommodate only 10% population of car users. This is not difficult. All one needs with the existing infrastructure is use the Delhi Metro more efficiently and promote car sharing,” Bhatt said.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on Friday said that they will prepare a comprehensive plan to accommodate the increase in passenger volume. Since 2016, the Delhi Metro has added over 100 kilometres to its network.
In 2016, the Delhi Metro network was 212.44 kms in length. Now the network length has reached 373 kms, including Aqua Line that links Noida and Greater Noida.
New corridors such as the Pink Line (connecting Shiv Vihar and Majlis Park) and Magenta Line (connecting Botanical Garden and Janakpuri West) have also been inaugurated. Existing lines—from Delhi Gate to Kashmere Gate on the Violet Line, Noida City Centre to Noida Electronic City on the Blue Line and Dilshad Garden to New Bus Adda on the Red Line—has also widened the network’s reach.
“In 2016, between January 1 and January 15, the DMRC ran 3,192 total trips daily against the usual 2,827 trips,” the DMRC said in a statement.