Unsafe NCR cries for better transport

Unsafe NCR cries  for better transport

The gang rape and murder of an innocent 23-year-old aboard a chartered bus has brought into limelight the unsatisfactory situation of public transport in the City. Reportedly, the victim and her friend had waited for 45 minutes at a South Delhi bus stop before taking the private bus.

Little attention, however, is being paid to public transport in NCR areas like Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad where the scenario is even worse. Lakhs of students and professionals, women included, commute from these areas to Delhi every day with little or no public bus facility. They rely on chartered buses and autorickshaws risking a fate like that of the victim on a daily basis.

At present, around 270 UPSRTC (Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation) and 300 DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) buses ply in Noida and Greater Noida. These, however, are able to cater to only 70,000 commuters, while the population of the twin cities is over seven lakh. Similarly, only 350 UPSRTC buses ply in Ghaziabad for over four lakh population and private buses, autos and private vehicles bear the burden of the remaining transportation needs.

Aruna Arora, president of the Federation of Noida RWAs (FONRWA), says, “Even though we do have six Metro stations in Noida, there are hardly any UPSRTC or Metro feeder buses plying between sectors. After all, Metro does not drop you at your doorstep. So one has to rely on unlit and rickety private buses, autos and tempos.”

“The conductors of these chartered buses are known to be rude, drunkards and misbehave with women but what option are we left with in the absence of buses. Let’s not forget, the chartered bus in the gang rape case was also recovered from Sector 30 in Noida.”

Vinay Gupta, Secretary, RWA Federation Ghaziabad, says, “On top of the situation arising out of absence of buses, the autorickshaws here have no concept of meters. They charge as per their whims and fancies and levy random night charges. You can never say after 8 pm, if an auto or tempo will drop you safely at home or in a drain in the city outskirts.”

Greater Noida, on the other hand, doesn’t even have the Metro to rely on. Brijesh Kumar, a resident here, says, “Earlier, we were told that Greater Noida doesn’t have enough population to require a Metro. However, in the past few years, the NCR has seen an exponential growth and land prices have touched the sky. It is high time that we are provided world-class transport facilities so that our residents, women especially, can commute safely and in time.”

In response to the recent demands for better transport facilities, Noida Authority CEO, Sanjeev Saran has responded that all bus, tempo drivers will now onwards be asked to wear a uniform and maintain an ID card; black films and curtains will be removed; and lights will have to be kept on post sunset. Also, they are planning to increase the strength of their fleet and better organise routes and timings. Let’s hope the reforms come ahead of any mishappening.         

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