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Revisiting Delhi’s Odd-Even Formula

odd-even
Image Credits: qz.com

According to the World Health Organization, Delhi is the most polluted city in the world, with PM 2.5 at alarmingly high levels. The Delhi government had therefore, recently launched the odd-even formula in an attempt to fight the rising air pollution levels as well as the ever-increasing traffic congestion issue, and it had since become a matter of extensive discussion and endless debate.

Those with the motion vouched for its effectiveness saying that it will greatly reduce the air pollution levels and will also unblock the roads. Those against say that the current state of public transport in the capital don’t make it feasible for everyone to adhere to the rule and it is not always possible find people to carpool with.

Before the odd-even rule was applied, the government ran a one month campaign to promote it, and put forth all the clauses and details, in order to have maximum clarity on the rules and exemptions. Advertisements were used as a medium to increase the reach of the campaign. We could also hear heart-warming stories happening all across the city, before and during the 15 days trial period. Civilians joined in to make it a success, and helped in many ways, including being there on the roads to enforce the rule and spot the defaulters.

There were several exemptions, such as: Exemption to CNG vehicles, emergency cases, some government vehicles and even cars with only women commuters. This obviously wasn’t entirely appreciated even by some women drivers, who chose to follow the rule instead. As per them, if the rule is for reducing the pollution levels and congestion, then there is no point in leaving out women driven cars, as they essentially create the same levels of pollution and congestion on the roads.

Surveys were conducted in the month of December to understand how the people of Delhi perceive this move, their expectations and beliefs. Among other shocking discoveries, it was also found that more than 70% didn’t believe that the odd-even rule could be successfully implemented in the first place. Many were seen criticizing the move and going as far as giving reasons as to why it can’t be a successful venture. Some declared that the traffic would worsen.

Cab service providers like OLA, Uber and Meru came up with carpool options for their passengers and the cab drivers did confirm a steep increase in business in those 15 days. I had a chance to interact with Manoj who drives for Uber and as per him, business had certainly seen a sudden increase and he now got much lesser time between two ride requests.

It is also interesting to note that similar methods are already in use in several places outside India, including Beijing, which is comparable to Delhi in terms of pollution levels. This methodology, commonly known as “Odd–even rationing”, is used in many different forms across the world and is not only limited to vehicles.

To sum it up, there have been a lot of speculations, perceptions, comments and dialogues around the odd-even formula however, it seems we all agree to the fact that the rule worked out extremely well, possibly better than what the Delhi government may have expected. The pollution levels did experience a fall, and people did witness less clogged roads even during peak rush hours. According to a recent survey conducted by LocalCircles after the end of the odd-even trial run, more than half of the 12918 people who participated in the survey, appreciated the move, its effects and success, but don’t want it to be effective again. This is primarily due to all the hassles they had to face while trying to use public conveyances. The Delhi government has promised to improve the situation of public transport system in the future, and says that it may implement the odd-even rule again, but only after conferring with Delhites and knowing their take on it.

So, what’s your take on this? Comment below and let us know if you want to see the odd-even rule implemented again or not, and why.

About the author

Parikshit Nath

Parikshit is a writer by heart and passionate about technology consulting and astronomy. Loves to spend time with his family and kids.

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