New Delhi: Delhiites proved as misplaced the widespread doubts whether they would leave their odd-numbered cars at home on an even date on Monday and whether the public transport would creak under new burden. Motorists largely complied with the odd even rule on its third day.
Till 4 p.m, 509 motorists were fined in comparison to the 567 on the first two days of the scheme when authorities were “soft” on the violators.
“This is victory of people of Delhi. Because of their will, Delhi has passed its litmus test,” Transport Minister Gopal Rai told reporters.
The minister praised Delhi Police, with which his government is at loggerheads, for their cooperation.
Unlike the usual gridlock Monday morning, the traffic was smooth on Delhi’s arterial and main roads.
There was an overwhelming response on the first two days to the scheme which kicked off on January 1 — the traffic was spared of the regulation on Sunday.
But sceptics said it was because of the extended weekend when people stayed at home, and the real test of the government’s traffic regulation would be on Monday, the first full working day of the New Year.
“There were speculations and doubts about what would happen on Monday when all the offices open. Some people feared that public transport may be overcrowded today (Monday) or there may be violations by drivers, but we have not noticed any such thing,” Rai said.
While lakhs of even-numbered cars plied on Delhi roads, the government rolled out 7,143 buses to ensure smooth travel for those who left their odd-numbered cars at home and turned to public transport to commute.
Although many odd-numbered cars were spotted, they were running on CNG or driven by women — both exempted categories — and the roads were still less crowded in the morning.
Of the 7,143 buses on the roads, a total of 4,461 were of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) while 1,431 were cluster ones. There were also 1,251 hired private buses, and the remaining were the school buses that ferried passengers.
The buses were not crammed as earlier feared on Monday.
Like on the first two days of the scheme, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal shared his car with Rai to reach office, and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia cycled to the Delhi Secretariat.
Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra travelled in a bus.
The 15-day odd-even traffic scheme started on January 1 and aims to put odd- and even-numbered vehicles on the roads on alternate dates.
The curbs take effect daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. except on Sundays when the scheme is not operational.
But the scheme has many exceptions including a string of VIPs, CNG-driven public transport, cars driven by women, two-wheelers and emergency vehicles.
Many regular Delhi Metro commuters did not find the Metro coaches extraordinarily crowded either.
“I found the Metro a bit more crowded than usual but it was not unmanageable as I was fearing it would be,” said Adnan Ali, who travels to work from Chandni Chowk to Noida City Centre.
But the situation was different on the Metro’s Violet Line which has only four-coach trains.
“It was very crowded at Mandi House station. I had to jostle to get into the train and almost fell down as the crowd pushed me from behind,” complained Shweta Arya, who works with a private firm in Nehru Place.
Rai urged people not to spread lies of Metros being over-crowded on social media with pictures clicked months ago.
A statement from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said it has planned to run 3,192 total trips to handle the passenger rush.
The DMRC will use 198 trains daily to achieve these trips, it added. (IANS)