Of course it was not the fault of the metro or the buses that they couldn't function. The incident only emphasized how much we depend on electricity for our daily needs. But what it did is to also make us realize that we should be ready with alternatives and contingency plans to help us through such trying times, if they are to arise in future.
This can be seen from how DTC was forced to leave its buses idle even as the entire orange fleet of cluster buses was on the road those days. Efficient operation, planning and execution ensured that the oranges buses were in attendance when the commuters needed them most. Using generators these buses were filled with the CNG and made ready for operation. This shows how proper contingency planning helps in times of crises.
The other fact that this situation has brought into focus is the need for a city to equally develop all modes of public transport. If a city focuses on promoting only one mode of transport, then there is always the danger of chaos if that mode shuts down. In Delhi, for example, there is lot of focus on developing the metro, while the development of buses, which are generally the lifeline of any city, are found to be on a slow track.
Power failure wouldn't have affected Delhi's transport scene much if there were more buses in operation. It is essential to equally develop multi-modes of transport so that in future, if one mode of transport shuts down, the other can bear the burden with proper planning and management, thus ensuring that the public is not affected.
Apart from the reasons given above, a city needs to have different modes of transport to serve different kinds of travel needs, which are dependent on differences in distances, purpose of travel, income level etc. Presently in Delhi, out of the total length of trunk routes, 10 per cent is being served by metro and 90 per cent of the routes are served by buses. Our city has around 5500 buses including both Delhi Transit and DTC, whereas the city requires 11000 buses. The network of metro is increasing gradually whereas; the number of buses remains the same, which shows the growth of buses is not proportionate to the growth of metro network.
Despite the fact, buses serve every nook and corner of Delhi and have the flexibility to travel on all the roads. Another interesting fact to be looked at is that all the metros are overground or either underground. Passengers have to either climb up or climb down to reach metro stations. For senior citizens and disabled people, it becomes a difficult task. However, buses on the other hand offer surface level transport, which is far more accessible. Also, if we talk of extending the reach of buses, there is no need of an elaborate infrastructure and the schedule and routes can be started on a short notice. Time and again it was realized that whether it is a natural or man-made disaster, public transport comes to the rescue and evacuates thousands of people quickly.
Like London, Zurich, Copenhagen, Guangzhou and Seoul; even Delhi demands an easy, efficient and effective multi- modal transport system. Power failure turned out to be an eye opener for the concerned authorities. Right now, it is essential to develop well planned multi- modal transit system in order to have uninterrupted and quick journey for the commuters.
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