I wrote this piece right after the first Delhi Odd-Even experiment but never published it since I thought its problem over. But considering this is coming back in April, I wanna publish my thoughts.
Let me preface this article: I am not an environment unfriendly person. I do my bit. I may not be an activist but I certainly do my bit. I ride a bike to work at times. I never throw stuff on roads. I try to take care of environment in whatever way possible.
Also, I have some expertise in this area having done numerous (paid and unpaid) digital and social media assignments for environment, traffic and sustainable transport.
With this, I hated the Odd-Even Rule. Absolutely hated it!
I have 3 key reasons for it:
Philosophical reason: A government’s job needs to be to make life comfortable for people. Make it convenient and they will follow you. Delhi doesn’t have the kind of infrastructure in public transport needed. That has to be the #1 thing. Inconveniencing people is definitely not a solution. The crores over crores spent on ads and structure to get odd-even implemented could be better spent on getting Ring-road metro and some of the other critical public transport projects done. And then make it a matter of choice
Numbers reason: In its own form, except for metro, most means of trying to reduce pollution actually ends up increasing pollution.
Not fully thought through solution: Was it successful? NO. Most people who consider it successful said so only because they saw lesser traffic. No one cares about the inconvenience I had to go through. Me, the tax payer. Me, the person who generates jobs for this city.Me, the person who works 15 hours a day.
What I sincerely fail to understand is that odd-even was started as a project to reduce pollution and seems like it has become a project to reduce traffic. And it really bothers me. The traffic they want to reduce is me. The person who pays taxes, generates jobs, works hard.
While I have given reasons why it’s a bad solution, I also want to suggest some ways to make it better.
Pro choice: Introduce an additional toll or some other charge so people can make a choice. I have 3-4 meetings to go to on days and I am willing to pay to buy my way through it. Allow it
HOV Exemption: There should be an exemption made for cars with 3 or more people in it. They are already doing their bit and helping reduce traffic congestion and
Significantly increased parking charges: Goes to add to the pro-choice phenomenon. If I am willing to pay, I have a need important enough
Last but not the least, WORK TOWARDS PROVIDING BETTER PUBLIC TRANSPORT.
Till then, I will keep hating it.