- All CNG-driven vehicles (will need to produce certificate)
- Electric vehicles
- Hybrid vehicles
- Vehicles driven by women, with only women passengers
- Vehicles driven by women, with children below the age of 12
- Those on way to hospital for medical emergency (should carry proof)
- Vehicles of physically challenged
- Emergency vehicles - Ambulance, fire, hospital, prison, hearse, enforcement vehicles, etc.
- Vice President
- Prime Minister
- Chief Justice of India
- Speaker of the Lok Sabha
- Deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha
- Deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha
- Governors of the states
- Lt Governors
Questions were raised, the concept trolled and many even felt that the scheme would not actually come into effect. But it did. On 1st January 2016, only odd cars were allowed on Delhi roads. The timing was perfect, 1st January being a holiday for many offices. Thus, people were slowly eased into the scheme. Monday, 4th January was to be the litmus test.
Would Delhi listen?
Everyone waited with bated breath.
As did I when I rolled my (even-numbered) car onto the road. And the next 25 minutes were the most pleasurable drive I have ever experienced in Delhi NCR. Noida to Okhla, a route that usually takes 1 hour during traffic hours, was covered in a mere 25 minutes. There were no traffic jams on Ashram or at DND as is routine now. And when I looked around, I noticed only two odd numbered cars throughout that route which were not driven by women.
Delhi had listened.
There were no barricades every few metres checking whether the cars were appropriate or not. Even though a hefty fine of Rs.2000 was announced for those who defied the rule, for some inexplicable reason, very few did. People actually wanted to try and make a difference. With Delhi's off-the charts pollution levels, it was people like you and me who couldn't breathe. It was our own children whose lungs would forever remain under-developed because we never tried to make a difference. And thus, the city where a challan is met with 'Do you know who my father is?', left the attitude at home and came out in full support of the Odd Even rule.
Even with one of the best Metro networks in the country, Delhi's public transport often falls short. From a comfort perspective or safety for women, there are not too many alternatives with the auto rickshaws overcharging and not going short distances. Radio taxis were a welcome relief for the working class, until a couple of incidents made us question them too.
The rule is now gone. It is back to square one. There is no rule to follow, no penalty to ensure enforcement. However, the problems remain the same. It is still you and me who breathe this air. It is our time which is wasted on the road in traffic jams. The city has 2.7 million registered private cars. And this number rises every day, adding to the fumes, adding to the chaos.
Transport Minister Gopal Rai, said the scheme, in its second phase, will "include all" towards which the Delhi government has already started "working". He, however, did not elaborate on the specifics. The Delhi Government will hold a review meeting on odd-even scheme tomorrow to assess its impact and future. "Around 20 lakh cars used to be on the roads daily during the duration of the scheme, but number of challans were around 100, 200 or 500. This is nothing. This means, almost 100 per cent people of Delhi followed odd-even and it became a movement," CM Arvind Kejriwal said.
Is it possible, we muse, that Delhi listens again? This time not to the law or the cops, but to their own conscience? The odd-even plan urged us to get out of our comfort zone and leave the car in the garage. Car pool with colleagues to work. Take the Metro during non-peak hours. Use taxis, buses and autos when required. An impossible ask? We don't think so. That is what the first two weeks of this New Year showed us. That Delhi has the capability to question the impossible and make it possible. Will you?