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Delhi: Public transport capacity down 73% since first lockdown, congestion up, finds study

CSE said congestion is returning to roads at a time when public transport ridership is still low and the transport options inadequate.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: December 29, 2020 12:38:00 pm
Stranded since lockdown, over 200 people are finally evacuated from Majnu ka Tila gurdwaraOver 40 buses were damaged during the January 26 violence during the farmers’ tractor march. (File/Express photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

The average capacity of public transport has fallen by an average 73 per cent since the first lockdown in the city in March, a report on Delhi’s mobility done by the Centre for Science and Environment said.

CSE said congestion is returning to roads at a time when public transport ridership is still low and the transport options inadequate. The report says that service capacity of the public transport fleet reduced by 73 per cent on an average, with variations across different phases of lockdown and thereafter.

“Public transport is expected to be further constrained by social distancing norms. This is already encouraging people to shift to private modes of transport… Delhi cannot meet its clean air targets if overall traffic and vehicle numbers are not controlled. Delhi Master Plan 2020-21 had set a target of 80 per cent public transport ridership by 2020 that has been missed,” the report said.

The report also shows that the reprieve from traffic congestion was temporary and that it is nearing pre-Covid levels. The mean travel speed decreased from 46 kmph during the lockdown to 29 kmph after the lockdown was lifted, as per an analysis of the Google Mobility Report done by CSE. The average speed in February was 24 kmph.

“This could not be sustained as the scale and scope of action needed to transform public transportation, walking and cycling options, and vehicle restraint measures like city-wide implementation of the parking management area plan and the notified parking rules have remained limited and inadequate. This is of serious concern as scientific studies in Delhi have shown that vehicles contribute about 40 per cent of the total pollution load,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director-research and advocacy, CSE.

The report also says that with work from home norms in place, trips to the workplace reduced by up to 65 per cent.

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