Covid-19 hits Metro ridership, total vehicles in city at 11.8mn
- Transport experts say the Metro ridership may have also suffered on account of the free bus rides for women scheme
The Covid-19 pandemic took a toll on the Delhi Metro in 2020, with its daily ridership nosediving from 5.7 million (before the lockdown in March), to one million since resuming services in the national capital on September 7, the latest economic survey for Delhi has revealed.
According to the document released by the government on Monday, Delhi Metro services have been hit mainly due to the Covid-19 induced social distancing protocols. Metro services in Delhi were suspended from March 22, 2020, to September 6, due to the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the global pandemic.
“While state-run buses have been allowed to carry passengers at full seating capacity, the same has not been allowed in the Metro yet. Due to social distancing norms, currently, the average daily ridership has decreased to about one million, including the ridership of the Airport Line and Rapid Metro in Gurugram,” said a Metro official, on condition of anonymity.
Transport experts say the Metro ridership may have also suffered on account of the free bus rides for women scheme, launched by the Delhi government on October 29, 2019.
The economic survey report stated that the free bus rides for women scheme helped women take 193.2 million trips for free till last year (2020), of which 105.8 million trips were made on Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses and 87.4 million trips on cluster buses.
In 2019-20, the combined ridership of DTC and cluster buses had increased to 5.1 million per day from 4.2 million in 2018-19. The report did not state the figures for 2020-21.
Adding to Delhi’s pollution woes, a key component of which is automobile emissions, the economic survey indicated that the vehicular population has increased to 11,892,877 (4.4%) in 2019-20 as compared to 113,91,551 in 2018-19.The highest increase was seen in the two-wheeler segment, which now accounts for 7.9 million of the total registered vehicles in the city.
As per the outcome budget, the transport department could issue only 4.7 million pollution under control (PUC) certificates instead of the targeted 7.5 million in 2020-21.
KK Kapila, chairperson of the International Road Federation (IRF), said, “The only way forward is to keep increasing the number of buses in Delhi and make it so user friendly that more people give up their private vehicles and use buses.”