Going to outer Delhi is like taking bus to another city
Far-flung villages do not have buses connecting them to Metro stations
There are areas in the city with no access to public transport. Ironically, these are also the places where the poorer people live. As these are also the far-flung areas, mostly in outer Delhi, lack of public transport increases cost of travel phenomenally.
“There are no buses connecting 10-12 villages to the Metro. We avail the services of Gramin Seva which charges Rs 10 travelling one side,” says Rita Suman, who works at a primary health centre at Fatehpur Beri in south Delhi.
Reaching Chhattarpur from Aaya Nagar on Metro cost her Rs 10. Spending Rs 40 a day on travelling to work cripples her monthly budget to a good extent. “If only buses would run on this route, my travel cost will come down to almost half,” rues Suman.
The main road of Chhattarpur runs from the Metro station to the main road of Faridabad, crossing many a village. The road is smooth and broad. Buses run, but with a frequency of two hours, while the Metro drops people every five minutes. The Metro route has increased mobility of people, making Chhattarpur an upmarket area. But lack of safe and frequent connectivity from the station is a major source of disappointment.
“I think they do not run buses here because already there is a lot of traffic,” says a traffic policeman. But the residents point out that if the buses start to ply, private tempos will stop running. And then there will be a lot of space for buses.
“The Gramin Seva tempos and shared autos are a nuisance. There is no regulation over them. I take them at night after closing the shop. They fight among themselves, and make passengers wait until they get more people,” says Raju, who runs a paan shop on
the main road.
Areas like Najafgarh and Narela face similar problems.
“I get down at Jahangirpuri and wait for at least half an hour to take the bus till Najafgarh town. Then I have to depend on shared autos to reach my house. It takes me two hours one side to go to work,” says Afreen Ansari, a tailor at a shop in Khan Market who lives in Najafgarh in south-west Delhi.
“I will look for a college close to home for my daughter. She will not be able to manage so much of travelling if she goes to a college in North Campus,” he adds.
Delhi’s labour force primarily stays in parts of outer Delhi, and needs to come to the main city for work. But as they cannot afford to live there, the workers are forced to stay in far-off places.
The government has shifted many slum dwellers to places like Narela in north-west Delhi. Though they now possess houses, travelling has become a problem.
“It’s like travelling between cities every day,” says Aseem Kumar, who stays near Narela Industrial Complex and works in Model Town. . “I used to feel the same way when as a child I would travel from my parents’ village to the grandparents’ — waiting for hours for a bus, lonely stretches of road and spending a lot of time on travelling.”