Shuttles to reduce cars, bikes in Aundh

Experimental Service To Run On Key Routes From Oct 8 To 15 As Part Of Smart City Mock Drill
A dedicated local shuttle service is expected to run through the bylanes of Aundh between October 8 and 15 as a part of the smart city road redesign mock drill.Titled `Udaan,’ the shuttle would operate on five key routes of the area, providing easy connectivity to locals and visitors to major establishments within a 5km-radius.

Parihar chowk, the centre of Aundh, will be the hub of the service. Route maps and stops devised for it have factored in all possible combinations of journeys that citizens could undertake, covering the length and breadth of the area. While there are two long-route loops (red and yellow) travelling though the two ends of Aundh, three shorter journey loops will allow for quick travel from point to point (see box).

Creating space for people rather than private vehicles is the core principle of the remodelled futuristic road design expected to be tested in the week-long dry run. Accordingly , more space has been dedicated to movement of pedestrians and cyclists, besides creation of `plazas’ and earmarking space for hawkers and parking.

The shuttle service is the backbone of the experiment, whose rapid frequency through the day is expected to encourage citizens to ditch their private cars for the convenience of the 10-seater vehicle.Each trip on the battery-operated shuttle will cost a passenger Rs 10.

The vehicles, specially arranged for the experiment from Pune Zoo, are being painted in five different colours -red, yellow, orange, blue and green -for easy identification. Information boards will be put up locally for people to quickly identify routes.

Elaborating on the reasons for introducing the shuttle service, city-based architect and town planner Prasanna Desai said, “A lot of people, including housewives, children and the elderly , are forced to remain confined to their homes only because they don’t have a vehicle. There are many others who fear the parking hassles they would face if they drive out in a car to a destination not too far off. This shuttle would be of great use to all of them.Since it is open, clean and will operate at a frequency of every few minutes, we expect it to be the oxygen of the entire experiment as it will reduce the number of private vehicles.We hope the civic body can consider continuing the service even after the experiment.“

Area resident Vaishali Patkar is already confident of its success. “I take autos or taxis even for my local chores and this shuttle will definitely be convenient for me as it promises last mile connectivity all around Aundh. However, I should know the timings of the service well in advance so that I can utilize it well,“ she said. Municipal commissioner Kunal Kumar expresses hope for the system to be replicated all over the city in a phased manner. “What we are trying out is a futuristic model of urban transport. The idea is to get people to walk and cycle, and not think of driving their cars everywhere. However, this is only an experiment, which we will monitor very closely to identify the pros and cons. Successful elements can be tried out in other parts of the city. However, we are not looking at any immediate results,“ he said.

Source : TOI