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The Delhi High Court has restrained the Municipal Corporation of Delhi from taking any punitive action against unlicensed rickshaw pullers driving licensed cycle rickshaws in the Capital. The Court said in the order that no licensed rickshaw being driven by an unlicensed rickshaw-puller would be challaned, seized or impounded by the MCD solely on the ground of it being plied by an unlicensed puller.
A special bench comprising Chief Justice AP Shah, Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice NK Kaul also asked the civic body not to scrap or dismantle any rickshaw if impounded but grant liberty to charge a fee.
“The unlicensed cycle rickshaw if seized or impounded would not be scrapped or dismantled by the MCD. However, the MCD would be entitled to levy a composition fee of Rs 50 plus Rs 5 per cycle rickshaw towards storage charges or departmental expenses,” the bench said.
The Court’s order came while hearing a petition filed by the.Initiative for Transportation and Development Programmes (ITDP)-an NGO, highlighting the violations of several by laws and its provisions of the Delhi Municipal Committee (DMC) Cycle Rickshaw Bye-Laws 1960, done by the MCD.
While posting the matter for July 9, the bench also suggested the civic body to nominate a senior officer from the traffic police as member in the committee constituted by the MCD to examine the cycle rickshaw policy, existing Cycle Rickshaw By-laws and to study its impact. The court has also directed the report of the panel in the court.
Through its counsel-Anand Nandan, the organization, has approached the High Court requesting that directions should be issued for civic body and Delhi Traffic Police to act in accordance with the law. “Direct the MCD and Delhi Traffic Police to immediately start disseminating information, awareness and training about traffic rules, road signage and safe driving among cycle rickshaw drivers”, said the petition.
Alleging that MCD has been flouting the by-laws, Nandan has submitted in the Court that according to a bylaw of DMC Act, cycle rickshaw pullers should be trained by the civic body. “The MCD has not been implementing its own rules and not providing drivers knowledge of essential rules of the road, signals and road signs to rickshaw pullers”, he said.
According to the petitioners, wearing a khaki uniform, a cap and a metal badge bearing the name of license number for a rickshaw puller is mandatory under the rules but the civic agency has failed to implement the provisions.
NEW DELHI: A heritage cycling ride was organised in the heart of the Capital by Delhi Cycling Club on Sunday. The event was supported by Open Planning Project and Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.
The aim of the ride was to promote bicycle as a green, healthy and most sustainable mode of transport and help people learn about the heritage and history of Delhi.
The bicycle journey of around 10 km started from Patel Chowk metro railway station and passed through Rafi Marg, Rajpath, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Rajiv Chowk, Parliament Street before culminating at Patel Chowk.
The cyclists on their way stopped briefly near several historic monuments located in Lutyens’ Delhi such as Parliament House, North and South Blocks, Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate, Ugrasen Ki Baoli, Connaught Place and Jantar Mantar.
Speaking on the occasion, Programme Director of ITDP-India Nalin Sinha said: “The uniqueness of the programme is that it provides people an opportunity to leave their motor vehicles behind at home and explore the heritage monuments and history of the city on a bicycle in an interesting, educative and enjoyable way”.
This was the fourth such ride organised by Delhi Cycling Club since 2007.
There was no registration fee and the event was open to cycling enthusiasts and others who are concerned about the environment and climate change.
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Cycling Through The Heritage and History of Delhi
New Delhi (Xinhua):Promoting bicycle as a green and healthy mode of transport, leaving their cars behind, New Delhi residents will, for the fourth consecutive year, be all set on a Heritage Cycling Ride on Sunday morning.
The event, sponsored by Delhi Cycling Club, was started in October 2006 by Institution for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), an NGO, engaged in research and advocacy for green, sustainable, and equitable traffic and transportation policies and programmes.
According to ITDP website, membership of the club is free and open to all the cycling enthusiasts concerned about road safety, environment, climate change, and health and fitness.
To spread the message, the Delhi Cycling Club has formed a google group, says Rajendra, event coordinator for Delhi Cycling Club.
During the 10-kilometre ride, cyclists will stop at several historic monuments. This will help people learn about the heritage and historical monuments of Delhi in an interesting, educative and enjoyable way, the google group information about the club says.
On the google group, members logged discuss various issues ranging from buying bicycle gear to cycling interests and treks.
Nalin Sinha, Programme Director of ITDP India and Member-Delhi Cycling Club said that the uniqueness of the Heritage Bicycle Ride is that it provides people an opportunity to leave their cars behind for a day and explore the heritage monuments and history of city on a leisure cycling tour with a group of environmentally and socially conscious people and also experience an exciting and rejuvenating outdoor activity.
“Cycling is a great way to start your day. Not only is it a healthy exercise, but also helps reduce pollution. If people leave their cars behind for one day, and travel on bicycles, pollution levels will go down considerably in just a day. Thanks to initiatives like these, environment still is safe”, said Delhi resident Soki.
The Indian capital is also considered one of the greenest ones in the world with a lot of parks, tree-lined boulevards, meadows and small forests.
Pedestrians swear at them and motorists look down on them. Cyclists in the city routinely feel marginalized on the roads. But there is
still a certain section of people who not only strongly support good ol’ cycling that can keep one fit, but also take pride in its “green’’ nature.
These are the people who on Sunday came out to take part in a bicycle ride organized by Initiative for Transportation & Development Programmes (ITDP-India) and Delhi Cycling Club. The rally was planned to “promote cycling as a zero-pollution, healthy and most sustainable mode of transportation’‘. It was also the day when in Mumbai, the annual marathon took place.
Starting from Humayun Tomb, around 40 people pedalled with great enthusiasm on the cycle tracks of BRT Corridor from Lodhi Road/Oberoi Hotel Flyover crossing to Ambedkar Nagar Terminal and back, covering a distance of 20 kilometres.
From IT professionals to housewives, who brought their kids along, many on Sunday morning shunned their cars for bicycles. Ashita Murgai, managing editor in a publishing house, said she no longer drives to work. “I love cycling. Each morning, I use the bicycle to go to my office in GK from my house in South Extension. It is the most healthy and economical way of staying fit. And at the same time, it’s completely eco-friendly,’’ said Murgai, as she followed her 8-year-old son, Madhav, leading the group of cyclists.
In recent times, with a strong focus on healthy lifestyle and clean environment, cycling has again become fashionable. It’s evident from the membership of Delhi Bicycling Club that has risen from one to 500 in just one year. Started in 2007, the group also has around 300 members from various parts of India who keep in touch with the Delhi members online.
Founder of the club Nalin Sinha said half of Delhi’s population travels less than 6 km daily. “It means one can cycle to work, reduce pollution and keep fit very easily,’’ he said.
But are the city roads safe for cyclists? Sinha believes they are. He said if traffic rules are followed, cycling is the safest bet on roads. “Delhi with its wide roads can be made a haven for cyclists if the government can develop segregated bicycle lanes. More cyclists on the road will also mean less pollution and less congestion,’’ said Sinha.
He said now that the government is heavily investing in new projects like Metro and BRT Corridor, it should also keep in mind cyclists and should plan for them. A sentiment with which Jaspreet Bindra, a Microsoft employee in Gurgaon and a participant in the rally, agreed with. “In certain western cities, even public buses have racks where cyclists can place their bicycles. In this way, they can use cycles for short distances while use of public transport for longer distance. There should be such provisions here as well,’’ he said.
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Delhi Pedals to Make a Green Point
Pedalling a cycle, often associated with childhood memories, is increasingly becoming routine for people, thanks to the initiatives of the Delhi Metro and the Delhi Bicycling Club, which encourage people to use bicycles for short distances.
In North Campus, a scheme to rent cycles was started two years ago to help students cut on cycle-rickshaw fare. Now, at Rs 10 per cycle for four hours, the initiative is popular with nearly 40 students renting the 26 bicycles every day.
Mukesh, owner of the cycle stall, says students often rent bicycles for the sheer pleasure of paddling. He immediately shifts to their benefits: “On bicycle, one can change destination without hassles. And it’s cheap: the same distance on rickshaw will cost Rs 60-70.”
However, cycling has enthusiasts who take to the pedal for more reasons than cost-cutting. Membership of the Delhi Bicycling Club rose from one to 500 in just one year. Started in 2007, the group has other 300 online members from all over India.
With rallies and workshops, the club has succeeded in convincing at least 20 members to shun their cars for bicycles.
Member Rajindra Verma, who no more buys petrol for his motorcycle, says, “I enjoy the bicycle ride and look forwards to all cycling events.”
Founder of the club Nihil Sinha says half of Delhi’s population travels less than 6 km daily. “It means one can cycle to work, reduce pollution and keep fit,” Sinha, who himself cycles to work, says.
But are the city roads safe for cyclists? Sinha thinks so. He says if traffic rules are followed, cycling is the safest bet on roads: “Delhi with its wide roads can become a haven for cyclists, only if the government spends 1/1000 part of its expenditure on building cycling tracts.”
The Delhi Cycling Club was started by ITDP India, an NGO engaged in research and advocacy for green, sustainable and equitable transport policies.
International experts have given thumbs down to the functional Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor in the Capital. After a visit to the corridor to assess the existing situation, the experts pointed out the shortcomings like faulty bus stops, pileup of buses on the bus lanes and need of Operational Control System on route between Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand Hospital. After a workshop on ‘BRT and non-motorised transportation in Indian cities: Problems, solutions and road ahead” on Thursday, Walter Hook, Executive Director of Initiative for Transportation and Development Programmes (ITDP), New York, said that with bus stops on the left side of the new system in Part B, the corridor stands “as good as scrapped”.
“I was stuck in the traffic on corridor and witnessed two breakdowns in the span of half an hour when I went for a site visit on Wednesday. Considering high traffic volume of 12,000 passengers per hour per direction (PPHPD) on the corridor, the speed of the buses is very slow, at 13 km per hour. According to international BRT standards, on a regular BRT corridor, the speed should be around 25 km per hour while that on a dense traffic BRT corridor, it is expected to be around 18 km per hour,” Hook said while narrating his own experience on the corridor.
Hook also found the designing of the traffic signal faulty. Presently, there are six signal phases of six minutes each. By restricting the movement of buses taking right turn at selected intersections, one cycle can be reduced which will increase the passing time of the vehicles. Hook further said that movement of other buses in the bus lane caused disruption of the movement of BRT buses. Also, the authorities contract out difficult parts of the corridor to private sectors, which causes problem as they are not associated with the project.
Talking about Part B of the corridor in the Capital now planned between Moolchand to Delhi Gate, Hook said that with nearly 200 buses commuting in one direction in an hour, the situation is all set to be chaotic. “With nearly 100 buses per hour per direction presently, the speed of the buses will be reduced further to 6 kilometers per hour. To manage this, trunk, feeder and complimentary routes should be considered,” he suggested.
PK Sarkar, Head of Transport Planning, School of Planning and Architecture, said the benefits given by authorities on BRT are merely theoretical in nature. “On one hand, the Government gives incentives to car users while on the other, they want people to switch to BRT. The Government has to decide whether it is a car-oriented or public transport-oriented society,” said Sarkar.
Simon Bishop, Transport Planner, London, and Visiting Research Fellow, Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) suggested that motorcyclists should be given a separate lane while local people should be consulted to combat their problems.
Those present on the occasion included Dilip Chenoy, Director General, Society for Indian Automobiles Manufacturers (SIAM), YP Anand, former chairman, Railway Board, BI Singhal, former MD, RITES, Manoj Agarwal, Head (Road Transport), DIMTS.
Source: Walter Hook, ITDP
A new, $52 million, nine-mile bus lane on one of this teeming city’s busiest roads was supposed to be a model of how India can improve the lives of its citizens as it builds out its infrastructure. Instead, it has become a symbol of how the government’s tackling a problem often compounds it.
At left, high-capacity buses halt at a Bus Rapid Transit corridor in New Delhi.
The Bus Rapid Transit system is designed to get people on and off buses more efficiently and to cut down travel time. But it has a major flaw: The bus stops were put in the middle of the highway, three lanes of traffic from the sidewalk on each side. Any pedestrian who wants to reach the buses must run a gantlet of Delhi’s chaotic and unyielding traffic, which pays little attention to the niceties of staying in lanes or obeying red lights.
Since the first five-mile stretch of the road opened on April 20, there have been three or four accidents a day, says Vijay Kumar Singh, a marshal whose job is to try to ensure the system works. And in the morning, he says, it can take schoolchildren up to 30 minutes to cross the road to reach the bus stops.
“The lack of footpaths and garbage dumped in the walking areas leaves no space to walk,” says Subhash Chand, a 38-year-old school worker. “Also, there is the constant risk of being run down by a speeding motorcyclist while crossing the road.”
Delhi Transport Commissioner R.K. Verma says the city government is addressing the problems. “We understand there is a design flaw, especially with bus stands right in the middle of the road,” he says. “It takes time for any new plan to be successful.”
No one questions the merits of helping traffic move more quickly. Delhi was once a city of wide, sweeping roads. Now its traffic is among the worst in the world: The number of vehicles in Delhi has been growing at 7% a year and now totals five million, according to the Delhi government. And buses stopping in general traffic lanes have been a big problem in the past: City buses killed 20 Delhi citizens last year and 28 in 2006.
Before the BRT opened, the Delhi government held workshops and classes in English, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi to try to teach drivers the importance of staying in lanes. Marshals such as Mr. Singh are supposed to help guide bus passengers and direct traffic. Signs list do’s and don’ts for the new bus lane. But they’re not regularly heeded: SUVs regularly jump the newly installed dividers into the bus lane to avoid jams in the car lanes, and motorcycles, three-wheeled auto-rickshaws and the occasional taxi crowd the new bicycles-only lane that now runs next to the sidewalk. “We get crushed in the mad rush,” says one cyclist.
Mr. Verma acknowledges it’s an uphill climb: “You can deal with technological issues, but not cultural issues.”
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It’s one of the most controversial infrastructure projects in the country but for all those who said that the Delhi Bus Corridor system was an out and out failure, here is a reality check.
A poll conducted by NDTV shows that there is a sharp divide in opinion on the success of the project between those who use buses on the corridor and those who drive cars on the same stretch.
Perhaps the big message here is that public transport must be considered a practical option for everyone, including people who cannot think about life beyond their luxury cars.
There have been many days of chaos, some days better than others but the debate has divided the city down the middle.
In an exclusive opinion poll, NDTV has asked car and bus drivers as also bus passengers whether this will work?
Car vs. bus drivers
- 65 per cent of car drivers feel the Bus Rapid Transit System(BRT) has made traffic congestion worse in the areas where the BRT runs.
- A whopping 75 per cent of bus drivers say the BRT is a huge improvement for buses.
- More than 50 per cent of car drivers say that the new bus stops in the middle of the road do not make driving more difficult.
- Bus drivers say it’s easier to pick up passengers from the new bus stops and 72 per cent of them say the middle-of-the-road stops are working better than the earlier system.
- Most car drivers, 76 per cent, however, say that they are worried about hitting pedestrians crossing the road.
- 61 per cent of car drivers say driving is easier now that buses have their own lane bus drivers.
- 82 per cent of them say the new bus lanes for them make driving easier.
- 88 per cent of bus commuters feel the new BRT and its buses are an improvement on Delhi’s public transport system
- 71 per cent believe it will help in reducing travel time – most bus users say their commute time has already been slashed by 50 per cent after the BRT was introduced.
- 60 per cent of bus commuters say there are enough Marshals and traffic policemen to help guide them to their buses.