Boon or bane for City commuters?

Boon or bane for City commuters?

Increasing vehicular traffic on Delhi roads is a big concern for all of us and also for the authorities concerned. Thousands of cars are being added to the Capital’s streets on a daily basis, add to that a humongous fleet of 85, 000 autos, buses and yes the ubiquitous cycle rickshaws. 

If these motorised vehicles were not enough to ferry people across the City, e-rickshaws have now added to the chaos, leaving commuters to fume and fret and deal with the massive slowdown of traffic everyday. Delhi is blessed with the Metro rail service, that has provided welcome succour to the commuters; there is also the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) to tackle traffic...but all in vain. Despite all these, Delhi’s roads appear to be more clogged than ever before. 

A small step towards easing short-distance commuting was the introduction of e-rickshaws. Unfortunately, today the e-rickshaws thronging the City are more of a nuisance than help, adding to the traffic and a veritable headache for the commuters. Apart from charging randomly, their slow speed and overcrowding is making them unpopular now.

Passengers who avail the services of these rickshaws have to shell out more as compared to a regular cycle-rickshaw ride. Present in large numbers, especially around Metro stations, these e-rickshaws are becoming an expensive affair for many. “Although it is good to travel in an e-rickshaw because it is open, but due to its high tariff I have stopped using them now because they charge similar to the autorickshaws,” said Dipti Sahu, a banker.

Some of the areas which have a large number of these battery-powered rickshaws and are adding to traffic snarls are Paharganj, RK Ashram Marg, Parliament Street, Uttam Nagar, Kailash Colony and Delhi University. Other than these areas, e-rickshaws can be found in other parts of the City as well. 

Another commuter Aman Kapoor, too complains about the same issues. “When they first came, I thought that they would be a great saviour from the autowallahs who charge money as per their whim and fancy. But, I soon realised that these e-rickshaws are also charging the same, besides being really slow. Worse, you have to share the seating space with three more people, whereas if you take an autorickshaw you hire it for yourself. So, paying the same as autorickshaws and then reaching your destination late doesn’t make sense.”

Although, these e-rickshaws were started as a part of ‘no-pollution’ drive, they are now suffering from a grave identity crisis. Also they are quite expensive – an e-rickshaw costs anywhere between Rs 80,000-90,000. And this is one excuse that the drivers use to charge more money from the commuters.

If on the one hand people are unhappy about their high tariff and slow speed, there are others who want to avail the e-rickshaw facility but are disappointed with their frequency. A resident of CR Park, Srijan Bose, said, “I have waited for these e-rickshaw many times but was always disappointed because of their frequency. For a small distance these rickshaws are great but one cannot wait for too long.”

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