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Opinion

Public transport is affected by Covid when commuters switch to private vehicles: study

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Public transport in Delhi has been running at reduced capacity since a nationwide lockdown was imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and authorities introduced various travel restrictions, according to an analysis by the Center. of Science and Environment (CSE).

Capacity has dropped 73% on average since March, the analysis said, adding that people are still wary of using public transportation. This, in turn, has caused a large drop in the number of bus and metro users.

The number is confirmed by specific data provided by Delhi Metro Rail Corp. and Delhi Transport Corp. and is also reflected in an increase in the use of private vehicles (simply because most people believe that public transport is not safe in a time when a viral disease is sweeping the territory of the Union).

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The CSE analysis warned of a worrying trend of commuters shifting to private vehicles after Covid-19, which could undo years of work in the city to promote public transportation and, as a result, increase traffic.

CSE also used mobility data from Google to show that the movement of people around public transportation hubs, such as bus stops and metro stations, had dramatically decreased. This is mainly because people still fear contracting Covid-19 and prefer private vehicles to public transport, the analysis concluded.

“Public transportation has been running at very low capacity during the pandemic. The fleet’s service capacity was reduced on average by 73%, with variations in the different phases of the blockade period and after the Covid blockade, ”according to the analysis.

The analysis also found that average speeds on Delhi’s roads had almost returned to what they were before the closure. According to him, the average speed increased from 24 kmph before the lockdown to 46 kmph during the lockdown, but has since dropped to 29 kmph with the end of the lockdown.

The CSE carried out its road speed analysis on 12 major roads, MG Road, NH-44, Sardar Patel Marg, Outer Ring Road, Dr KB Hegdewar Marg, Sri Aurobindo Marg, NH-9, Mehrauli-Badarpur Road, GT Karnal Rd, Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg, Dwarka Marg and Najafgarh Marg.

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Slower speeds also reflect congestion. Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director (research and advocacy) of CSE, said that traffic congestion was occurring because the demand for public transport in Delhi is still low.

That can be attributed to the fact that the Union territory, which has seen 623,415 cases of coronavirus disease and suffered 10,474 deaths from it to date, has also witnessed three separate waves of the pandemic, perhaps the only region of India that has. .

“The analysis shows that those who owned a car and used to travel by public transport before the pandemic, have now moved away from it and prefer to use their private vehicle. The modes of transport that have been resumed are also operating with limited capacity due to the requirement of social distancing rules. Therefore, these no longer fulfill the function that public transport used to do, ”said Roychowdhury.

In a previous analysis by CSE, which HT reported onOn May 29, experts said that before the nationwide lockdown went into effect on March 25, up to 37% of Delhi’s passenger traffic was carried by the Metro, 28% by personal vehicles and 7% by public buses. The researchers then predicted that these options would likely change.

“In the next six months, the number of passengers on the Delhi Metro is expected to fall more than 37% to 16%. Passenger traffic on public buses is expected to drop from 7% to just 1%. Dependence on private vehicles, on the other hand, will increase significantly, from 28% to 38%, ”said that report.

Data from the Delhi government shows that the capital has 11 million registered vehicles, of which 3.3 million are cars. The latest data provided by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) shows that the number of passengers is now around 900,000 per day, compared to around 2.7 million before closing.

Similarly, the number of passengers on the Delhi Transportation Corporation (DTC) buses has dropped by 59% since March this year.

“The rebound in post-traffic congestion indicates that Delhi is not ready for transformational changes to reduce traffic volume. The pandemic has also derailed the public transportation use targets that the city had set for itself, ”the analysis said.

He added: “For example, the Delhi Master Plan 2020-21 set a target of 80% public transport users by 2020, which could not be achieved. The Delhi Decongestion Plan of the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has also provided a roadmap to increase the proportion of public transport users that envisions strategies that include more buses, protected bus lanes, metro network and policy. parking and parking fees. But these have not been implemented on a large scale. “

The report also noted that the city is also lagging behind in maintaining the number and frequency of public buses. CSE experts said that if these goals are not met in the coming months, all the work done to promote public transport in recent years would be ruined.

“In terms of bus procurement, compared to the 2019-20 target of 4,000 new buses, 733 buses were added, bringing the total number of buses to 6,261. According to different estimates and directives, the city requires between 10,000 and 15,000 buses, ”said Roychowdhury.

Hindustan Times

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