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20 WAYS TO BE SUSTAINABLE IN DAILY LIFE Conscious commute: Carpool, cycle, walk or take an e-bike




Conscious commute: Carpool, cycle, walk or take an e-bike


From car-free days to odd-even and dedicated cycling tracks, over the last few years, NCR has seen a number of initiatives aimed at making commuting more sustainable and eco-friendly. But one doesn’t always have to wait for administrative diktats and schemes to be more sustainable. There are a number of ways individuals can contribute to the green cause and reduce the carbon footprint of their daily travel.


The easiest way to make your commute more sustainable is to reduce the dependence on one’s private vehicle as they are among the biggest contributors of toxic gases. Gurgaon-based businessman Manas Fuloria says, “It’s been over a year since I drove to work myself. I either use public transport or take cabs. Public transport system in Delhi-Gurgaon is expanding and availing it is quite easy. The only drawback is the time factor. It does take slightly longer than if you are driving.”


Ditching the car and relying on public transport like bus and Metro means one is faced with the issue of last-mile connectivity. Many have found a way around that by utilising one of the many e-bike or scooter rental services available. Shekhar Mendiratta, a software engineer, says, “I used to drive to my office in Gurgaon daily, but last year, in a bid to be more environmentfriendly, I switched to the Metro. The last Metro station was a few kilometres from my office, but the good thing is that there are so many app-based bike and e-bike rental services, I just rent a bike. It’s easy on the pocket and sustainable, too. I have not driven to Gurgaon once in eight months now.”


An increasing number of people in Delhi have now substituted cars and motorcycles with bicycles as the primary mode of transport. Yash Ahuja, a corporate executive from south Delhi does a round trip of 35km every day on his cycle to his Barakhamba Road office. “Minimising the use of personal vehicles is the most effective way to lead a more sustainable life. Cycling in Delhi’s traffic is tough but not impossible and once you plan your route, it actually takes less time than the car because you avoid jams,” he says.

However, many cyclists say that an absence of solid infrastructure for cyclists – including lack of dedicated tracks and chaotic traffic conditions – deter them from cycling long distances. “Unless that is improved, many people will be turned away from cycling regularly,” says Manas Fuloria, who used to cycle every day to work but shifted to car pooling after a new flyover on NH48 increased his travel time.


While NCR does have a robust public transport system, it is not always possible to depend on it completely because of the longer travel time. An easy way to get around that is by carpooling, particularly with colleagues or friends with similar routes. There will be still cars out there but instead of four people taking four cars, it will be one car for four people. That reduces traffic load. “I have been carpooling to work from Rohini to Noida with my brother and two of his colleagues every day for the last year and a half,” says Ankita Singh, a marketing professional, adding, “Apart from the obvious environmental benefit, it is also less tiring as we take turns to drive. Instead of driving 80km every day, I do it every fourth day now.”


It may come as a surprise but government figures show that 32% of Delhiites prefer walking to any other form of transport while commuting to work. Experts say that while this figure is bloated because of the presence of several daily wage workers who cannot afford to pay for any expensive mode of transport, it does show the potential Delhi has. “For smaller distances of even up to 2 kilometres, I prefer walking,” says Gayatri Sharma, an advertising executive from the capital. She adds, “Except in peak summers or heavy rains, when it is too taxing to walk, Delhi is perfect for walking. In fact, if you plan your commute well, it is the best mode for last mile connectivity. I usually take the Metro to the station closest to my office and then walk the rest of the way, which is 1.5km.”