Alternatives to odd-even scheme for Delhi’s pollution and traffic problems?

Delhi alone has more number of cars than the sum of other 3 metros in India. Road length is more or less same but vehicles are increasing at very rapid pace. Our driving habits, road marking, design and road encroachment have some of the key factors contributing to traffic jams.

Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world and pollution has reached alarming situation. Delhi is like smog chamber. Our esteemed courts and international organisations have raised great concerns over this.

Lot of new bridges have been constructed, various red lights have been eliminated and many more such steps have been taken. It gives a good feeling of problem getting resolved but for very small time. We need to get long term and bigger solutions.

Few of the key Delhi traffic, pollution problems are:

  • Traffic jam causes pollution, fuel wastage (loss of forex and increased import)
  • Pollution level has reached above alarming stages. It is one of the most polluted cities in the world.
  • Cost of health impact of pollution is very high to country
  • Traffic jam increases daily travel time and wastes valuable time of working population It is very big loss to country
  • People have become so short tempered that road rage, fighting and killing for small incident is common.
  • Accidental losses like injuries, deaths, vehicle maintenance and insurance costs are very high for country

Solution

The biggest solution should be to reduce number of cars on roads. Below listed steps can help to reduce cars on roads and daily traffic jams. It doesn’t need large initial investment like metro and it can be further reduced by inviting private partnership.

  • Make a comprehensive transport solution for whole NCR. Synchronise metro, rapid metro, buses, charted buses, autos etc. Make a single website like www.tfl.co.uk (transport for London website). Make a single card (like metro card) acceptable in all transport.
  • It covers 3 states and couple of cities so can’t be managed by any state or city authority. Make an authority responsible to manage complete NCR transport.
  • Metro is very nice public transport, fast, comfortable and even used by car users. It is well respected and maintained. But unfortunately its penetration is not enough and working to cover more area. Even in final stage it is not sufficient and must be supported by good fleet of buses etc for last mile connectivity like London, Paris etc.
  • Buses for NCR- Media reports have confirmed that car users are not using current DTC buses during odd-even trial. It proves different bus services are required which can be used by car users. NCR needs very nice bus connectivity which is comfortable, safe takes less time and can be used by car users as well. One good alternate can be AC and non-AC charted, fast buses (just few stops in fast services and only sitting) connecting whole NCR (Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida, Ghaziabad and Delhi). Buses with driver controlled doors and can’t move with open doors (will reduce congestion and accidents). These buses should be started by Govt transport corporations (DTC, Haryana roadways and UP roadways) along with few corporate. It is difficult to manage so many operators running 1-2 buses each. It increases corruption at lower level, difficult to manage and maintain quality. Blue line buses had killed hundreds of people and there is no way to control. Lacs of cars cross between Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, and Faridabad. If some part of this can transferred to buses then roads congestion will be reduced drastically. This can be quick, reliable, cost effective long term sustainable solution. Delhi needs it URGENTLY. The delay will cost dearly to country and society.
  • Make some parking slots near such key bus stops (and metro stations) so that person may bring car/cycle/scooter from his house to bus and way back home. Develop small buses or autos ply on shared basis to take people from these bus stops to place of work/home. Say people coming from Delhi may get down near Shankar chowk in Gurgaon and using shared auto can go to work in Udhyog vihar. Or companies may arrange own transport to pick up staff from such bus stops.
  • Encourage people to pool cars while going for work. Corporate having nearby offices should work together to have common transport pool (cars, cabs, buses etc).
  • Various organisations should create platform for people to pool cars
  • There are many taxi service providers in NCR like Ola, Uber etc. They can also create platform for pooling. Say if a cab is going cyber hub, Gurgaon to east Delhi then may carry 4 people rather than just one.
  • Local Trains- The existing Railway tracks have spare land around them which is illegally occupied. Explore option to put new tracks or use existing tracks to connect key NCR towns like Gurgaon, Faridabad, Ghaziabad etc to start with and later can be extended to further NCR towns (Rewari, Sonipat, Meerut etc). It will decongest Delhi fighting, already under great stress for basic infrastructure. These train services can be managed by metro or Indian Railway. But it must be on the lines of metro so that can reduce car traffic on NCR roads. Same NCR local transport card must be acceptable
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