Public transport and air quality
Advisories suggesting people to avoid outdoors are in place yet again with the air quality in the National Capital turning ‘severe’ under the collective impact of dense fog and reduced wind speed, a condition that is likely to persist over the next few days. Visibility will drop across the city over the next few days due to dense fog formation, which shoots up the level of pollutants as moisture traps it. Levels of PM 10, in real-time, at Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s (DPCC) Anand Vihar and R K Puram stations violated the prescribed standards (24-hour ambient) by over 10 and 7 times respectively around 7 pm on Wednesday. In response to a similar problem, French authorities have made public transportation free inh Paris for the second day running to combat the worst winter pollution in a decade. Similar to Delhi’s air problems, AirParif, the French capital’s air monitoring service, said pollution had increased amid cold weather and windless conditions which have trapped toxic pollutants. In response, trains, buses and the metro were made free to use on Wednesday to encourage Parisians to leave their cars at home. Of course, the public transport infrastructure in Paris has struggled to keep up with the footfall. Delhi also continues to suffer from inadequate public transport. To improve the public transport connectivity, there are some steps the government can take to improve its buses. Besides broken seats and windows, minimal access for the disabled and no space to stow luggage, overcrowding in the Delhi Transport Corporation buses are major concerns. The authorities could establish a system whereby commuters receive updates about the time of arrival, disruptions, accidents, and delays. Finally, improving last-mile connectivity remains a major concern for those who have followed the odd-even experiment, the Delhi government must deregulate auto-rickshaw licenses and put an end to the artificial scarcity of environment-friendly CNG autos in Delhi, among other measures.