Odd-Even Scheme relieves Delhi denizens

New Delhi: For many Delhi residents, commuting on wide roads in the national capital on Friday was a breeze, thanks to the odd-even scheme enforced between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

For many, travel time on different routes was reduced by almost half since they did not face traffic snarls.

Call it a New Year hangover or the odd-even scheme effect, the Chandni Chowk Metro rail station close to the Old Delhi railway station and one of the busiest, was much less crowded on Friday.

Since the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation increased its service for the fortnight the scheme will be in force, it was an easy ride for Metro commuters. Since additional school buses were pressed into service by the Delhi government, there were more buses on the roads as well.

The journey time on roads across the city was also reduced. It took a bus plying between Delhi and Noida about 25 minutes to reach Noida sector 2 from Connaught Place. On normal weekdays, the journey takes, at least, an hour.

West to East: It is usually one of the most gruelling stretches to drive on in the city on normal days. On Friday, however, driving on some of the most congested roads like Shadipur-Patel Nagar and Karol Bagh-Rajinder Nagar stretch was a sheer pleasure for office-goers and businessmen.

For some, travelling time between Punjabi Bagh and Noida – one of the busiest routes otherwise – was reduced from over an hour-and-a-half to a mere 50 minutes.

“If such an arrangement is in place on a daily basis, I can take my family out to places in NCR without much traffic hassle,” said Rajinder Singh, owner of an odd-numbered car from Rajouri Garden.

“It is an awesome experience to drive with the family on the first day of New Year,” he added.

The overall mood among west Delhi residents was upbeat about the odd-even scheme.

“I have an even-numbered car and have decided to give it a rest. Instead, I am going to take the Metro. We must support this novel initiative to cut travel time as well as air pollution in our city,” said Sachin Mehta, a sales executive who lives in Paschim Vihar.

A strange occurrence, however, was the minimal presence of traffic cops in west Delhi, especially on the Punjabi Bagh-Shadipur-Patel Nagar road.

Hauz Khas to Maharani Bagh: The roughly eight-km stretch that can take at least an hour to drive through in peak traffic hours was covered in 30 minutes on Friday by auto-rickshaw.

Even as a few even-numbered vehicles were spotted, they were driven by women, while one was compressed natural gas-fuelled. Vehicles driven by women and CNG ones are exempt from the restriction.

At the Hauz Khas traffic intersection, a few civil defence volunteers displayed placards asking drivers to stick to the odd-even scheme. A couple of traffic policemen standing along merely looked on as no violators were to be spotted.

Though commuters earlier feared to fleece by auto-rickshaw drivers, most were plying on metre charges as very few commuters approached them.

Delhi Transport Corporation and private stage carriage buses roped in by the Delhi government providing an alternative mode of transport but most buses ran empty. The city government pressed an additional 3,000 private buses into service.

“I was worried it will be difficult to reach office in time because of the odd-even scheme, but it was quite a positive experience on Friday. The bus frequency was also good. Otherwise, I sometimes have to wait for 40 minutes at Maharani Bagh for a bus to Noida,” said Reema Kumari, a university student travelling on route number 392 to Noida’s Sector 62 from All India Institute for Medical Sciences. (IANS)