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The odd-even traffic policy has been implemented for the second time amid huge public support for the first edition in January when residents of Delhi witnessed slashed traffic on Delhi’s busiest stretches even though the impact on pollution has been questionable.

This time, however, things have not been as smooth even in the initial stages. Huge traffic jams were witnessed on Monday on arterial stretches such as Akshardham, South Extension, Bhairon Marg, Azadpur, ITO (towards Vikas Marg), India Gate, Dhaula Kuan, Patel Nagar, Punjabi Bag, Delhi-Gurgaon Road, and the Ashram intersection in the morning rush hours.

Hindustan Times lists the five possible reasons why the road rationing policy is not as effective this time:

 

1. Schools

In the first phase, schools in the city were closed which meant fewer cars on the roads. This time, the schools are open and with private cars plying on alternate days, there are more school buses on roads.

In about 1300 private unaided schools in the city, each school has a minimum of 5-10 school buses. In the first phase, the Aam Aadmi Party government had asked schools to give their buses to be used for public transport and only a few buses close to 300 were given on loan. Then the government had said close to 2500 private school buses were registered.

In the second phase, all these buses are on the road.

It is not only these school buses that are adding to the traffic but private school vans which are used for transporting children are also on the roads. Most schools have no less than 25-30 such vans which drop and pick children. These numbers are only from private schools and then there are cab services in almost all 1100 government schools in the city.

Parents, who drop their children to schools, are facing a problem as the government has given exemption only to those whose car has a child in uniform to run on the roads before 8am when the restrictions kick in.

“It has become very problematic when we have to go pick the child. At that time, there is no child in uniform. The only option left is to carry the child’s identity card and show if we get caught. The second phase could have been easily done during the summer break,” Anurag Gupta, whose son studies at a private school in south Delhi, said.

Even government sources on Tuesday said including kids in odd-even this time has backfired.

 

2. The heat

The city woke up to a hot morning even on Tuesday. In the initial days of odd-even, this has been a trend with the mercury clocking 40 on a regular basis.

The minimum temperature soared to 26 degrees Celsius four notches above the season’s average. The maximum temperature is expected to settle around 40 degrees Celsius.

During the first phase of the road rationing system, which was in the first week of January, the weather conditions were pleasant and more people willingly took to public transport.

“In this heat, it is difficult to take a bus or an auto to work. So two cars for alternate odd and even days,” Balbir Singh, a resident of Bhogal who drives to his workplace in Vasant Kunj, said.

 

3. Fewer number of traffic cops?

On Monday, which saw the first real test of the odd-even scheme, a chaotic traffic situation unfolded, with many busy stretches witnessing jams. Enforcement agencies now claim to have tightened deployment.

Delhi Traffic police officials said that more personnel have been put on duty during the peak hours. The deployment was shifted from the borders to the city on Tuesday and the number of staff was also increased from 800 to 1000.

“We have not received any complaint of severe jams since morning and that will be out through the day. Though there are fewer vehicles on the road, the trick will be to manage them efficiently,” a senior traffic official said.

 

4. Breakdown creating snarls

On Monday, 15 government buses broke down across the city, negating the benefits of pressing additional buses to augment the Capital’s inadequate public transport system. Delhi government has a fleet of 4705 Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses and 1500 private buses while 680 additional buses were deployed during the odd-even period.

“Most breakdowns were reported from south Delhi. Four buses broke down in the Delhi Cantonment area alone, slowing traffic movement along that stretch. The low floor buses can be removed only by specialised cranes. So snarls continued till a crane arrived and towed away the bus,” a traffic officer said.

The benefit of less traffic was nullified at points because of snarls due to these breakdowns.

 

5. Ongoing construction works

Ongoing construction works across various points in the city also resulted in traffic chaos. Because of the renovation of water pipes by the Delhi Jal Board, only one carriageway of the Ring Road was opened.

At Shahadra in northeast Delhi, a similar DJB construction work delayed traffic.

In south Delhi, the dismantling of the BRT delayed commuters at Defence Colony and Andrews Ganj.

Traffic police have also issued an advisory about the PWD construction work related to the repair work on the Nehru Place flyover.

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