NEW DELHI: Autorickshaws , e-rickshaws and Grameen Sewa vehicles are supposed to provide the last-mile connectivity with Delhi Metro stations. However, these essential cogs in urban travel are also the cause of annoying congestion at the stations. Take Hansraj Sethi Marg near south Delhi’s Nehru Enclave metro station or Chitragupta Road near R K Ashram Marg metro station in central Delhi. With the pick-up and drop bays taken over by parked cars, the e-rickshaws and Grameen Sewa vehicles eat into the road space and cause major snarls through the day.
At Nehru Enclave, Grameen Sewa and e-rickshaws can be seen parked in rows that occupy half of the 50-ft-wide road, leaving a single lane for the use of vehicles. On top of this, they drive in both directions on the road, dodging and blocking the flow of traffic by stopping in the middle to haggle with commuters over the fare.
The problem is worsened by the erratically placed concrete jersey barriers. This divider either widens or narrows the road width and slows the traffic. According to regular users of the road, a carelessly parked Grameen Sewa or e-rickshaw on a narrower portion instantly causes a jam. That’s why parts of the road near the station remain choked at all times.
Even though a policy was framed to designate routes and cap their numbers, e-rickshaws are proliferating across Delhi. The operators themselves estimate that 550 vehicles ply between the Nehru Enclave metro station and Govindpuri, increasing during the weekdays.
“We’ve been pushing for an exclusive parking space for e-rickshaws and Grameen Sewas near the metro station, but besides assurances nothing concrete has been done,” grumbled Baljeet Kalra, an area resident. According to him, the number of these units has visibly increased since the station opened a year ago.
On Chitragupta Road, the e-rickshaws ply with utter disdain for rules, many without registration plates, most driving on the wrong side or parking illegally on the roads or in a manner that halts the progress of traffic. “They wait on the road until the vehicle fills up with passengers. The drivers also frequently argue loudly among themselves when asked to move on,” noted Chander Prakash, member of the local market association. “We have asked the e-rickshaw unions to co-ordinate among themselves to decongest the area, but there are too many rivalries there for any joint action.”
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has identified 38 stations out of 126 in the Phase I and II networks as the most congested and in need of urgent design changes for multi-modal integration. Of them, decongestion plans for Chhatarpur, Kashmere Gate and Jahangirpuri stations are in various stages of implementation.