Monday, November 13, 2017

Odd even rule has drawn public attention to the alarming pollution levels in Delhi. Now, we need a long term sustainable solution for curbing vehicular pollution and jams. Here is one – an App based public transport system.

By: Sachin Gupta | Find me on Twitter

1. The Problem

Last few months have seen heated debates among environmentalists, activists, policy makers, and public at large about the deteriorating air quality in national capital Delhi. Aam Aadmi Party Government in Delhi led by Arvind Kejriwal has announced some measures to curb the rising pollution levels. Notably among them has been the animatedly debated ‘odd-even formula’.  We wish them best and hope pollution levels reduce drastically in Delhi.

So, what contributes to Delhi’s Pollution? Let’s have a look:




Transport contributes 22.7% to overall pollution levels in Delhi. Out of which Heavy and light trucks contribute about 14.2%. Private vehicles that include cars (4 wheeler) & 2 wheeler contribute 6.6%. Public transport that includes buses and 3 wheeler contribute 1.9%.

Government of Delhi has announced variety of measures to curb pollution at all levels. One among them is ‘Odd-Even’ formula which intends to target 4 wheeler. Will it succeed? We will have to wait for the 15 day trial run.

 

2. Existing situation

But what is the existing situation as far as transport is concerned? With growing GDP, more and more people are able to afford their own private vehicles to commute in the city. According to Delhi Economic Survey, the vehicular population in Delhi registered a 135.59 % jump between 1999-2000 and 2011-12 to touch 74.53 lakh. As things stand today, Delhi adds 1400 cars a day on its roads. About 50% of these cars sold run on diesel. Despite the world class Metro Rail, the public transport has not been able to keep pace with growing demand.

Sumit Sachdeva, Who lives in Faridabad drives a petrol CNG car, says, “I have to go to my office on Lodhi Road from my home in Sector 21C in Faridabad. There is no door to door public transport facility. If I want to take Metro Rail, then, first I have to take an auto from home to Metro station and then another auto from Metro station to office. It’s too time consuming and at the same time expensive”.

Manish Sharma, who lives in Greater Kailash II drives a diesel car, says, “I am in a sales job and there is no way I can use the existing Metro Rail or other Public Transport systems. I have 3-4 meetings a day and all these public transport systems don’t connect me at all”.

Everyday there are Lakhs of such cases where people use their own private vehicles rather than using the public transport. This not only raises the pollution levels but at the same time chokes city roads leading to massive traffic jams.



 

3. Proposed Solution

It is clearly evident that unless government provides high quality public transport system with last mile connectivity, citizens will continue to use private vehicles.

It is in this context, we provide this solution with the motto that “Public Transport needs to compete with Private transport in terms of comfort, safety, and cost efficiency”.

With the existing infrastructure of Metro Rail, citizens can be made to use public transport more. All that is needed is the last mile connectivity. So, how do we get the last mile connectivity? By deploying ‘Metro Shuttles’ as shown in the picture below:


    3.1. Implementation of Metro Shuttles:

A high quality 14 seats electric shuttle costs about Rs 3.5 Lacs with following specifications:
  • Overall Dimensions:4650*1675*2020mm
  • Seat Capacity:14 Persons
  • Motor:5kw DC Motor
  • Body Color: Customized
  • Fuel: Electric
  • Emission Standard: 0 Emission
  • Maximum Speed(Unload / Full Load):30km/H
  • Battery:6V*8
  • Max driving distance (20km/h constant speed on flat road) (Km)    ~80

The idea is to connect people with Metro rail using these Metro Shuttles. Each Metro Shuttle will run within the radius of 5 km with multiple predetermined Metro Shuttle Stops. Metro Shuttle Stops will be created keeping in mind that no individual should walk more than 500 meters to catch a Metro Shuttle.

These Metro shuttles can be manufactured in India, thereby, giving boost to Make in India campaign.

           3.1.1. Financing

Let’s assume, there is a requirement of 100,000 Metro Shuttles to cover whole city.
Cost of buying these Metro Shuttles = 100000x350000 = Rs 3500 Crore.
Now, who will provide funding for buying these Metro Shuttles? Here is the plan:
  • Government of Delhi to announce the launch of Metro Shuttles system.
  • By just paying 10% (Rs 35000), an individual with a valid driving license can buy a Metro Shuttle to operate in the city. These drivers will not be on payroll of Delhi Government but will be guided by Delhi Government’s Rule Book of Public Transport system.
  • Remaining 90% (Rs 315000) to be financed by banks at subsidized interest rates of say 5% with Government of Delhi providing collateral support. Therefore, there is no risk for banks to give loans to Metro shuttle owners who normally don’t have necessary papers to get loan.

           3.1.2. App for Metro Shuttle Stops

An app will be developed with information about Metro Shuttle stops, drivers, and timings. Citizen can download the app on their Mobile phone in order to locate the nearest Metro shuttle stop with navigational capabilities. Any individual who wishes to commute within the city can use the Metro Shuttle to go to Metro station or vice versa take a Metro shuttle from Metro station to the nearest stop for his home. Metro Shuttle stops need to be created in such a way that any individual using the app shall not walk more than 500 meters to reach to Metro shuttle stop.


           3.1.3. Pricing

Ticket Price for using the Metro Shuttle will be highly affordable. And it needs to be fixed at say Rupees 5. People can pay in following formats:
  • Cash (If a user wishes to pay in cash, then, the ticket price could be Rs 10. This is to encourage users to use Metro Shuttle Card).
  • Metro Shuttle Card that can be charged at the metro station itself or Pre paid Metro Shuttle Card can be sold at super markets. A person using the Metro Shuttle card can swipe the card at the swipe machine attached to all Metro Shuttles. The money goes directly to the central authority and from there Metro Shuttle Driver can claim once every week or fortnightly.

           3.1.4. Real time tracking

Metro Shuttles will run in 2 shifts with only one shift allowed for an individual driver to operate.
  • 6 AM to 3 PM
  • 3 PM to 12 MID NIGHT
All the drivers driving Metro Shuttles will be registered by Government of Delhi and their behavior & capabilities can be tracked by the ratings provided by users on their Metro Shuttle App.

    3.2. Political Benefits:

Government of Delhi can draw huge political mileage by implementing this proposal. Indirectly, they will be providing jobs to over 1 Lac people (many of them can be women drivers). 

Can it be implemented? Yes, all it needs is a ‘Project Champion’ and in a matter of 2-3 years, the plan can be successfully implemented. And subsequently be adopted in other NCR cities.

We have to note that in many developed countries in Europe, Government provides last mile connectivity to people. In addition to trains, they have trams which take people from one stop to another within the city. However, In India, building trams is a futile and expensive exercise. Instead, we can easily implement Metro Shuttles.


    3.3. How to discourage use of Private Vehicles:

In addition to implementing the Metro Shuttle system, Government can tax the use of private vehicles in following way:
  • High cost of parking
  • More taxes on fuel

4. Conclusion:

In a nutshell, government needs to provide high quality public transport system. A system that is inexpensive, can be implemented fast, and at the same time strengthens the government’s political capital. Metro shuttle system can be the answer.

Thanks! Please comment and we can take the discussion further. Maybe we find some other ideas :)

Kindly share :)




Have any Questions?

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