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Odd-Even Rule: Delhi roads emptier; commute becomes faster

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 04, 2019 Published on November 04, 2019

Traffic seen during evening peak hour at ITO on the first day of the Odd-Even Scheme, in New Delhi. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma   -  The Hindu

Half vehicles go off Delhi Roads

Delhi roads were emptier on Monday with the Delhi government’s Odd-Even scheme, a road-use rationing scheme, kicking in. Several commuters, many of who drove their even numbered vehicles and many of who used a cab aggregator service, reached their destination much faster due to emptier roads.

November 4 was an “even” day for a large section of Delhi’s private vehicle users which means only those four-wheelers with number plates whose numbers end with even digits could ply on the roads.

Also read: Odd-even scheme begins in New Delhi

The few odd-numbered vehicles could use the roads on Monday only if they were driven and occupied by women and children, belonged to Defence Ministry or other select VIPs, among others.

Almost half the private vehicles were off roads on the first day of the Odd-Even scheme in 2019, according to estimates. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said out of 30 lakh vehicles in Delhi, roughly 15 lakh vehicles will be off roads. Another official told BusinessLine, Delhi has roughly the same number of registered vehicles ending with odd number, as with even number.

Rule violators faced a fear of having to pay Rs 4,000 if caught. Delhi Police issued challans to several violators making the erring drivers cough up Rs 4,000. Some of these rule-violating vehicles, penalised by Police, sported number plates perceived as those belonging to the relatively privileged class – some special numbers like 0007, or even government vehicles that had white number plates ending with odd numbers.

Car pooling

As a result of the odd-even, car pooling service providers started seeing an increase in downloads, but said it was early to track the impact of odd-even scheme. Quick Ride, a company with 10,000 users in Delhi had waived off its commission and expects over 2.5 times surge in users by the time the odd-even scheme ends. "We are seeing an increase in number of of active users," Priyadarshi Singh, Director-Sales and Marketing-Delhi-NCR, Quick Ride told BusinessLine.

Rapido, a bike taxi service provider which launched its service ahead of odd-even in parts of Delhi to provide the last mile connectivity in neighborhood along the Delhi Metro stations, and is providing its services for free, echoed it was early.

Delhi had urged cab aggregators to refrain from charging "high prices", something that Ola and Uber had agreed to.

Read more: Ola not to charge surge prices during odd-even in Delhi

Uber even launched a 15 per cent discount scheme for those taking last mile rides from Delhi Metro’s Uber stations. There were anecdotes of regular cab-aggregator users coughing up close to 1.5 times their regular amount (Rs 300 instead of about Rs 215). Some regular users of a cab-aggregator could not find a ride during their office hours, while some car-owners with odd numbers who are not regular cab users found a ride a quick ride with the same cab aggregator.

Also read: Cab aggregators fasten their seat belts for odd-even road use scheme in the Capital

Alternate plans during odd-even scheme

Going by past trend, Delhi Metro, which has spread its network much wider across Delhi – National Capital Region during the implementation of this odd-even scheme – is expected to see much higher footfalls. Delhi Metro had already planned another 61 rides in advance to take the additional expected load. Some women with odd numbered vehicles – who could not get dropped by their male family members or even drivers -- took to the metro.

Several commuters in Delhi planned in advance to prevent the odd-even scheme from disrupting their travel plans. Some fixed their unused car, ending with even number, for their Monday commute. Some borrowed two-wheelers, some, who were planning to buy their second vehicle, bought their second car consciously to ensure that their travel plans were not disrupted.

Transport sector was one of the major contributors to Delhi’s pollution in 2018, contributing to almost 40 per cent of emissions, according to Ministry of Earth Sciences data. Delhi breathed cleaner air today but the extent to which the vanishing vehicles contributed to the cleaner air is unclear.

Related news: Public health emergency declared in ‘gas chamber’ Delhi

Published on November 04, 2019
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