Restrictions on cabs likely to spell transport chaos across Delhi-NCR

  • | Thursday | 9th November, 2023

GURGAON/NOIDA: Delhi governments plan to stop app-based cabs registered in other states from entering the capital if the odd-even rule is enforced next week will make commuting between the capital and the NCR cities difficult and disrupt the transport grid that runs across the inter-connected cities.Track the pollution level in your cityThe restriction will end up significantly depleting the public transport fleet, instead of boosting it, which is the need of the hour when pollution levels are at their peak.Ironically, most cabs that will go off roads as a result run on CNG.Residents and cab aggregators fear multiple hits and see a chaotic week ahead if the decision is implemented because a large chuck of cars that ply for aggregators like Uber, Ola and InDrive have UP and HR number plates, registered mostly in Gurgaon, Noida or Ghaziabad.On Wednesday, cab aggregators told TOI they were still waiting for a formal order to figure out the modalities while reiterating their cabs run on electricity or CNG, and hence cut carbon emissions.A transport industry source said more than 1 lakh cabs ply daily across Delhi-NCR, and if those with UP and HR registration numbers are barred from entering the capital during odd-even, about 60-70% of these cars would be affected.Office and airport rides may be hit Several residents TOI spoke to, meanwhile, decried knee-jerk reactions instead of an institutional mechanism to mitigate air pollution. Fewer cabs, they said, will make availability a problem and are sure to drive up fares. Besides, Gurgaon is the office hub for people across NCR. Noida is a growing one. So, lakhs of people commute to the cities daily for work. Fewer cabs will hit intercity travel and may force companies to consider work from home arrangements. NCR residents are also heavily dependent on cabs to get to the airport and railway station in Delhi. The restrictions will throw that into jeopardy. I run a business from Gurgaon and must travel across India at least twice a week. If cabs are restricted, the fares are going to skyrocket. These apps already have an algorithm for surge pricing when fewer vehicles are available or the demand is high – now it is going to be both, said Advait Shastri, a venture capitalist based out of Gurgaon.A resident of Sector 81A in Gurgaon, Adil Rehman, who commutes daily to his workplace in Connaught Place, said he feared the move would lead to an unreasonable hike in cab fares as a result of surge pricing and more cab cancellations.If I get lucky to find a cab at all, it will mean high fares and a longer wait period. Very few Delhi-registered cabs can be found in this part of Gurgaon, Rehman said.Sovona Tikari, who lives in Noida and works in a tech firm based in Delhi, said she switched to cabs from metro after air quality deteriorated to avoid the 15-minute walk from the station to her office. Since I have asthma, I have been preferring cabs. Cabs are the only option for those who dont have personal vehicles. Under this new rule, it will be very problematic to commute to the office every day.Cab owners, meanwhile, fear a big hit to their earnings. This is the festive season when we get a large number of bookings. If we cannot enter Delhi, then how will we run our business? asked Noida-based Ganjendra Tyagi, who owns three cars that run on an app-based cab service.Pressure on metro Directions to take all BS III petrol and BS IV diesel vehicles off roads will also bring more people into the public transport grid. If there are restrictions on cabs as well, most of this pressure will shift to the metro. Metro trains will become jam-packed. And we are still talking about people who live within 10-12 km of the Delhi border because, after that, there is no metro connectivity in a city like Gurgaon. People living in new sectors rely on cabs, if not their personal vehicles, to commute to Delhi or Noida, said Harshit Behl, a resident of Sector 15.Buses are in poor shape and reaching the bus stops is a task. People dont even know which routes these buses take. There is no parking provision around these bus stops, said Ritika Bali, a resident of Preet Vihar who commutes to Gurgaon for work every day.People who have BS IV diesel cars are also in a fix. Ever since these vehicles were banned from plying in Delhi, I have been taking a cab from my home in Faridabad to my workplace in Kalkaji. Now, I wont be able to take a cab, too, since most of the cabs here are registered in Faridabad or Gurgaon, said Ankit Tripathi, who works in an event company and has a 2017-model BS IV diesel car.Priyanshu Sinha, a resident of Noida Sector 70, who works in the evening shift from 6pm to 2am, wondered how he would travel back from his New Friends Colony office. Either the authorities should make provision for 24-hour metro services or should mandate work-from-home provision till Delhis air quality improves. The pollution is not only taking a toll on our health but also making our daily lives harder.A spokesperson for Uber said, While we havent received any order from the transport department, we want to reiterate that all the cars on Uber in Delhi are CNG or electric and shared mobility helps more people commute in fewer cars.

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