Skip to main content

Indian elite 'woos' pollution: Post-lockdown private cars preferred over public transport

By Rajiv Shah
As Indian cities continue to successively unlock themselves amidst Covid-19 pandemic, a major survey sponsored by the high profile Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation, and carried out by a top Indian environmental group, has found that in the post-lockdown period a whopping 34 per cent of those not owning vehicles would be buying new four wheelers, while 23 per cent said they would go in for two wheelers.
Results of the survey, which was undertaken by the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, carried out among middle and large income groups, published in the report “Pandemic and Mobility: Lessons from the COVID-19 crisis for building solutions”, authored by Anumita Roychowdhury, Anannya Das, and others, also show that the use of car in the post-lockdown period would also go up drastically, even as the use of public transport, especially metro would go down.
Among the respondents, 15 per cent were in the age bracket of 18-25 years; 57 per cent in 26-35 years; 13 per cent each in 36-45 years and 45-60 years; and 2 per cent in the age group above 60 years. Belonging to the higher and middle income groups, 27 per cent of the respondents earned more than Rs 1 lakh per month; 38 per cent between Rs 50,000 and 1 lakh; 24 per cent between Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000; and 11 per cent below Rs 25,000.
The report, which confines itself to responses from Delhi Nation Capital Region (NCR), underscores, “In the distance range of five-10 km for work trips, the use of cars is expected to increase from 20 per cent at pre-lockdown level to 33 per cent.” At the same time, it says, “Metro usage will decline from 30 per cent to 10 per cent.” Also, it adds, “Para-transit use will increase from 10 per cent to 15 per cent.”
However, the survey finds that “below the five-km distance range, walking and cycling is expected to increase significantly from 14 per cent to 43 per cent; car usage would reduce from 23 per cent to 16 per cent; and metro usage will go down from 16 per cent to 5 per cent.” There is a caveat, however: For this to become a reality, city authorities would need to “intervene immediately” to provide infrastructure in order to ensure a viable “walking-cycling distance radius.”
Assessing the preferences for modes during different phases – initial six months after lockdown, and over one-two years and for a longer term – report says, “Within six months of post-lockdown, metro ridership is expected to decline from 37 per cent at prelockdown level to 16 per cent”, and “the share of cars and two-wheelers would increase from 35 per cent to 47 per cent.”, though, “encouragingly, walk and cycling share will increase from four per cent to 12 per cent.”
However, report says, “In the long-term scenario, public transport share will increase, with total bus and metro share regaining and increasing from 44 per cent to 47 per cent.” Also, the “intent to use personal vehicles shows an arrested trend – reducing from 35 per cent to 31 per cent.” Further: “Walking and cycling share will also increase from four per cent in pre-lockdown to nine per cent in the long term.”
It comments, “The survey results show that despite the initial setback to public transport and increased preference for personal vehicles, the preference for public transport and walking and cycling gains in the long run.” In fact, preference for cars may “plateau” and “decline” over time. Here too there is a caveat: To make the scenario possible, “policy needs to respond to this intent and stimulate the dormant demand for good quality public transport, walking and cycling and reduce dependence on personal vehicles.”
In fact, noting huge ifs and buts for the use of public transport facility in the longer run, the report says, “The respondents were specifically asked about their longer-term preferences if public transport systems... Majority of the respondents -- as many as 73 per cent -- preferred to move to public transport if systems meet high quality standards for services. Only about 22 per cent said that they will continue to use personal transport, while the rest would prefer to move to cabs and shared mobility.” 
At a Delhi-NCR wide level, close to 40 per cent do not have access to bus stops within 500 meters; and 69 per cent do not have access to metro stations within 500 meters
According to the report, “About 38 per cent have preferred public transport for reasons of connectivity; 23 per cent each for cost effectiveness and sustainability; and 16 per cent to avoid traffic congestions. This is a clear indicator for policymakers that a massive shift towards public transport, walking and cycling is possible if good quality and convenient public transport systems and well-designed walking-cycling infrastructure are made available.”
It underlines, “One clear impediment to using public transport that is evident from the survey is that the majority of the respondents do not have convenient access to formal public transport nodes in this region. At a Delhi-NCR wide level, close to 40 per cent do not have access to bus stops within 500 meters; and 69 per cent do not have access to metro stations within 500 meters. This will vary from city to city.”
Pointing out that “this makes using public transport inconvenient and people become captive users of personal transport”, the report says, only “about 34 per cent have access to a bus stop and 11 per cent have access to a metro within 200 meters”, adding, “Only para-transit modes are available more widely and within close proximity.”
This suggests the need for “economic reconstruction packages in cities need to be linked with transport and street-based infrastructure to improve access to transportation modes along with walling and cycling infrastructure”, the report says, adding, it also “requires local area plans and appropriate infrastructure along with public amenities and public parks within neighbourhoods to enhance the experience.”

Comments

Unknown said…
There are two points I would like to make.

1.While in metros the state governments are trying to increase rail and bus facilities rural areas are sorely lacking in road connectivity even to the nearest hospital, which is a sad state of affairs.
2. Hopefully, with the new thinking of WFH, the need for more than 1 or 2 vehicles per household will decrease.

TRENDING

Nirma varsity demand for higher fees 'illegal', violates Article 14: Letter to Gujarat HC

Counterview Desk
Students of Gujarat’s top private institute, Nirma University, situated in the outskirts of Ahmedabad, in a letter to the Chief Justice the state High Court, have complained that the authorities are demanding “full fees” from students, without taking into account the “disproportionate impact” the lockdown has on the livelihood of students and families.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Vulnerable to Covid-19, sharp rise in murder of Indian journalists during pandemic

By Nava Thakuria*
Vulnerability of working journalists in India is no way an alien issue as the populous country loses a number of working journalists to assailants as also medical emergencies. Even though there was only one casualty in the Indian media fraternity during the first half of 2020, who was targeted for journalistic work, India has begun witnessing an alarming number of media casualties during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Govt 'assures' Gujarat HC no action against MBBS students defying corona sahayak order

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government has assured the High Court that no action would be taken against Part-I and Part-II MBBS students of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)-controlled NHL Medical College and LG Hospital and Medical College. The assurance follows the direction by Justice SH Vora to the State government not to prosecute or initiate action against the students who were defying the college authorities’ order to work as corona sahayaks (helpers).

Renounced US citizenship to serve workers, tribals, Sudha Bharadwaj 'odiously' in jail

By Atul, Sandeep Pandey*
Professor Sudha Bharadwaj has been in jail since August 2018. She was taken into police custody on August 26, 2018 on suspicion of being involved in Maoist terror activities after Republic TV claimed that she had allegedly written a letter to Maoists and was conspiring to create public disorder and unrest in India.

Ex-official: Murmu, appointed as CAG, will 'surely' perform shradh of the institution

Counterview Desk
A former senior official of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Shantanu Basu, in a Facebook comment in the wake of the appointment of GC Murmu, a Gujarat IAS cadre official of the 1985, has raised doubts about the independence of CAG following the Government of India move.

Plant organic, eat fresh: Emlen Bage's journey from migrant labour to agri-entrepreneur

By Chandrashekar and Kriti*
Who is a farmer? Type this question in the google search and check out the images? You can see men thronging the screen. This is the popular perception around the globe. Well one can understand how difficult it would be for a woman to defy this perception.

High youth unemployment: India 'fails' to take advantage of demographic dividend

By Varun Kumar
As coronavirus pandemic continues amplifying challenges among youth with regard to employment opportunities, government policies have further resulted in economic slowdown, leading to mass unemployment and loss jobs. According to the International Labour Organisation report “Covid-19 and the World of Work” (May 27, 2020), around 94 percent of the world’s workers are living in countries with some sort of workplace closure measures in place.

Dichotomy? US Hindutva groups oppose racism, mum on Modi's 'anti-minority' stance

By Our Representative
The Hindus for Human Rights (HHR), a US-based advocacy group, has noticed a major dichotomy between the stance taken by RSS’ US arm, Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh (HSS), expressing “shock” at the “painful killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others”, all of which suggest “the tragic tale of racial injustice” in US, and HSS’ “hatred” for India’s religious minorities and Dalits.