Metro, DTC ridership up after traffic fine hike
Ridership of public buses and the footfall in each corridor of the Delhi Metro have gone up by around 4.8% and 3.3%, respectively, in the 10 days starting September 1, when the enhanced traffic penalties under the amended Motor Vehicles’ (MV) Act came into effect, public transport data showed.
This trend, according to experts, the traffic police and commuters interviewed by HT, point to a shift in commuting patterns, one that favours public transport. The reason, they all agree, is to avoid the risk of having to pay hefty fines.
Although agencies do not regularly record data pertaining to change in traffic volumes across roads, traffic police officers said there is a considerable decrease in traffic at major intersections.
“There has been a visible change in traffic volume, after fines for traffic violations were increased. Busy junctions at ITO and Rajouri Garden, which used to be choke-points, are seeing fewer jams even during peak hours. There is no study done on this as such, but our personnel have been giving us regular feedback,” a traffic officer said.
Data accessed by HT, from the Delhi government and DMRC, showed the ridership of public buses for six working days between September 1 and 10 stood at 25.37 million, compared to around 24.21 million for the corresponding period in August.
For Metro, the line utilisation – summation of passenger traffic in the eight operational Metro corridors of Delhi – stood at 34.19 million between September 1 and September 10, as compared to around 33.10 million for the corresponding period in August.
The weekends and two gazetted holidays in September have been excluded from the analysis for more accurate comparison.
HT Thursday spoke to commuters and several of them said they opted for public transport as they didn’t have papers needed while driving, an offence that could attract heavy penalties.
Ankita Kumar (29), had been driving from home in Ghaziabad to her workplace in Green Park without a registration certificate (RC) for nearly two years. “Now, I have stopped using my car as fines are steep. I take the Metro from Vaishali and alight at Green Park station. Also, my insurance has recently expired. I will collect my car’s RC and renew its insurance this week,” she said. Kartik Sharma (26), an engineer, said he uses the Metro now as he only has a photocopy of his licence. “I had lost my licence and never got a new one made,” he said.
Under the new law, driving without a licence and not having a RC attract a penalty of Rs 5,000 each. Earlier penalties for the two offences were Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, respectively. Driving without vehicle insurance would attract a Rs 2,000 fine, up from ₹1,000. Driving without a PUC certificate now attracts a Rs 10,000 fine, which earlier was Rs 1,000.
Experts welcomed the move, but said the shift in commuting patterns could be temporary. “The core intention of the amended MV Act was not to make people take public transport, but to make motorists more responsible. If the numbers are showing a migration to public transport, it is a win-win situation for the state,” Sanjay Gupta, School of Planning and Architecture, said.
Data provided by the Delhi Transport Corporation which operates 3,750 buses, said it had an average daily ridership of 29,35,405 between September 1 and September 10, compared to 28,28,395 during the corresponding period in August. The 1,704 cluster (orange) buses saw an average daily ridership of 11,59,748 between September 1 and September 10, compared to 11,22,310 during the corresponding period in August.