Noida and Greater Noida, are still in many ways, developing cities. Despite several high-rise societies residential properties having come up or coming up at a brisk pace, last-mile connectivity is still a huge issue that the residents face. Despite metro train connectivity, Noida struggles under a bad public transport system. In the absence of buses, E-rickshaws, and other cheap modes of transport, the city's population mostly has to depend upon personal vehicles, auto-rickshaws, or cabs for last-mile connectivity.
Residents of Noida have time and again raised the concerns of inadequate public conveyance but unfortunately, little has changed in years. The residents point that one major drawback in the public transport system of Noida is the lack of connectivity between the corridors of Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) and Noida Metro Railway Corporation (NMRC).
While walking on the roads of Noida, I came across different young commuters who shared that as the travel cost is high in the city, they have to cut down on leisure activities. "It is sort of an essential to have your own mode of travel in Noida. One cannot simply depend on public transport," says a commuter.
Nikita Sharma, 21, who is a frequent traveler from Delhi to Noida says, “Once I was visiting my sister who lives in Indirapuram. It was 9 pm and also raining heavily when I reached Noida electronic city station. As soon as I got off the metro station, I started looking for auto-rickshaws. The few rickshaws present there were demanding a hefty price. Having no other option I was forced to shelve out 100 bucks for a journey that would otherwise have cost just 30 bucks. It’s usually the same every time, not just on monsoon days. We need better transport facilities”.
In the absence of reliable public transport, commuters board private buses at their own risk. These private buses usually have a long waiting time and do not move until they have enough passengers.
Pushkar Raj Chandna, 68, a retired engineer, resident of Lotus Panache, Sector 110, Noida, says, “It is sad to see that there is no proper public policy at work in Noida and Greater Noida with regard to the public transport system. This issue has been pending for the last 46 years now. All that Noida Authority has done is proving short-term solutions."
In such a scenario the majority of the residents are forced to use their private vehicles for commuting. Few corporate houses hire private cabs to ferry their employees. This contributes to air pollution in Noida and Greater Noida.
Chandna suggested Noida Authority needs to come up with a holistic plan in this regard. We need a variety of buses, both Electric and Green fuel, as feeders to various interior routes connecting to Metro Stations. This will not only reduce the number of private cars, bikes on road, but it would also drastically reduce noise pollution.
Anita Prajapati, a social worker, says, “There is no transportation system in Noida or Greater Noida to talk about. A few years ago, feeder buses were started but the schedule was not followed strictly. The service was far from satisfactory and eventually, it was discontinued. Thank God the GreNo will soon have metro connectivity. We are just counting on it."
Achal Rohit, 38, Resident of 5th Avenue, Gaur City 1, Greater Noida, says, “Public transport is the backbone of any developing country. It is unfortunate to say that in Gautam Buddh Nagar especially Greater Noida West, which is surrounded by middle-class families, residents have no access to public transport. Residents have been waiting for more than 5 years for public transport in this area”.
Sushil Kumar Jain, is the President of 18 Market Association. He recently wrote a letter to the Noida Authority for the operation of CNG and Electric buses to provide last-mile connectivity for the public in Noida. Says he, “The buses running in the past have stopped operating due to some unknown reason. Even metro feeder buses do not run in the city. Most of the people prefer to walk to metro train stations in Noida. There is an urgent need to run buses from the sectors to the metro station. The petrol and diesel prices have increased substantially in recent past and this has added to the traveling cost of those using their own means to travel."
Sangeeta Lohani, a resident of Sector 78, Noida, says, “Just in front of my house we have Noida metro railway corporation 101 train station which is quite useless as it is not connected with DMRC. We bought this flat because we thought the metro would be useful. We have to go to Delhi mostly so we have to depend on auto-rickshaws which prove very costly. There is no E-rickshaw. It is so costly that even if I have to go to Mahagun which is just nearby I still have to pay Rs 50”.
Lakshya Sinha Kashyap, 17, a student, says, “Makeshift bus stops are unreachable and unhygienic. Lack of proper infrastructure is the root problem. Noida is developing in terms of high rise societies but it is still poorly connected."
Shweta Bharti, General Secretary, Nefowa, says, “Working ladies like us generally prefer the metro but due to lack of last-mile connectivity it is a difficult daily task. It is better to take a cab directly to our destination than to depend on the metro train service. There should be the availability of E-rickshaw or buses, which are cheaper and preferable”.