Auto at your doorstep?

With the city about to get 45,000 more TSRs, grand plans are being discussed

If all goes well, soon you'll be able to call an auto to your doorstep, just like radio taxis. Delhi government has started brainstorming sessions on the Supreme Court's order wherein the city will get 45,000 more auto-rickshaws. A Delhi government official told MiD DAY that the new fleet is likely to hit the roads in the next six months. Grand plans are being discussed to bring additional benefits to commuters. Currently there are 55 thousand auto-rickshaws plying in the city.  

ITS was applied in cabs during Commonwealth Games to ferry officials
and athletes. Pics/MiD DAY

On Friday, Supreme Court allowed the addition of 45,000 rickshaws, lifting a freeze on grants of new permits that the court had imposed by a direction on December 16, 1997. The last time the Supreme Court allowed an increase in number of autos was in December 2002, when it allowed issuance of 5,000 new permits.

No more: Haggling with auto drivers might soon be a thing of the past.
Last year,

The officials say various models are being discussed to make the project successful. "To make it more organised and effective, one model which is being deliberated upon is inviting corporate houses on the lines of radio taxi system to run some lots of auto-rickshaws," said a Delhi government official.

When asked if government is likely to say goodbye to one license-one permit policy, the official said, "All the auto permits will not be given to corporate houses. A certain ratio would be reached upon through consensus. It is a policy decision which the government will have to take after deliberations with different stakeholders. But one thing where government is not likely to compromise is on an entire new fleet of Intelligent Transport System (ITS)," said the official.  "The entire fleet of new autos would run on ITS. The system has been successfully tested during CWG to ferry officials and athletes," said the official. 

Finally, GPS for autos
Under this system a control room would be set up from where all the autos will be regulated through global positioning system (GPS) and other means of ITS. "For instance, if there are less than adequate number of autos at one point, more of them can be sent to that location as positioning of autos will be monitored through control room," said the official.

A centralised call centre will be set up; people will be able to call for autos to come to their doorstep. Also the driver can be contacted through text messaging and mobile phone technology," said the official. Another model towards which the transport minister has also indicated is linking permits to routes. "In cities like Mumbai for instance auto-rickshaws are allowed only in certain areas. In Delhi too, the permits could be route-based. This would work as TSRs are basically shuttle services," said the official.

Breathing easy
On December 16, 1997, the Supreme Court had barred the city government from issuing new auto permits. Among the reasons given was the growing air pollution, which was worsening because of pollution from two and four-stroke petrol engines used in auto rickshaws. The current order raising the cap on the number of autos comes in response to a government application moved way back in 2002, which said that with the TSRs converting to CNG, pollution from autos had been checked. It had also pointed to the increasing population of the city as a reason for relaxing the cap.

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