02 January 2016 06:57:40 IST

On Day 1, the odds were in Delhi’s favour

AAP claims citizens cooperated willingly

The actual success of the Delhi government’s odd-even formula will be known only by January 15, but if the response of most Delhiities on the first day is any indicator, then the risk taken by Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party seems to have paid off.

The local government will review the effect on pollution after the 15-day trial and consider including two-wheelers in the second phase of the scheme.

Though there were some violations, most private vehicles on Delhi roads had number plates ending with odd numbers, both government and independent experts said. Some 66 auto drivers were issued challans for not using meters, and for refusing to ferry passengers.

Stating that the people of Delhi had voluntarily cooperated with the government scheme, Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai hoped that they would continue to do so during its remaining 14 days.

“In the next phase, we will add two-wheelers to the scheme. We will have a separate plan for coal-based power plants,” Rai added.

Rai said the government would decide on the dates of the second phase after the 15-day period and added that politics takes a backseat when the issue concerns health. “Even the cars parked at BJP headquarters ended with odd numbers. This is not politics. People are doing what they are doing because they want their children to breath clean air,” Rai said. On whether the exemptions would continue for women drivers in the second phase, Rai said, “Many women drivers are saying that they do not need exemptions.” The Delhi Transport Corporation pressed into service a fleet of 5,341 buses for the day, as against 3,800 on an average. “Early indications are that neither the metro nor Delhi Transport Corporation buses saw much of a rush,” Rai said. Data showed that metro ridership was more than last Friday (December 25, a holiday) but less than the previous Friday (a working day). Till 8 pm 19.08 lakh commuters used the metro against 15.87 lakh on December 25 and 20.29 lakh on December 18. A reason for low traffic was because January 1 was a holiday for many. According to Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT) the odd-even day was a success due to response of people, as well as the civil defence volunteers on the roads.

The Air Quality Index at six monitoring stations in Delhi, on January 1, was worse than December 24, when the scheme was announced. According to IFTRT the reason for high pollution level could also be because of a huge leakage at Delhi border’s entry points manned by toll collection staff and Municipal Corporation of Delhi, where booths are supposed to collect environment tax.

Ministers car-pool Several Delhi government Ministers either car-pooled or took to bikes and e-rickshaws to reach Delhi Secretariat. Rai travelled to Delhi Secretariat along with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose vehicle number ended with an odd number.

The local government got the confidence to implement the odd-even formula after seeing the response for its car-free day scheme.

“We had decided in September to have a car free day on the 22{+n}{+d} of every month. The first car-free day was on Dushhera, when people said the success was due to the holiday. The second car-free day was on a Sunday, again a holiday. But the next was on Tuesday — and in areas like Lakshmi Nagar, East Delhi, which is traffic heavy, despite the winter chill, kids and women were willing to go that extra mile without car,” Rai said.