Sunderlal Raja

As a solution to the increasing traffic and its adverse effects on the atmosphere, Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association (HYSEA), on 6th August, started ‘Car-Free-Thursday’ initiative in the IT hub of the city, comprising Hitech City, Madhapur and Gachibowli. In six weeks, the initiative has started showing very impressive results. The number of public transport patrons has gone up and the rate of traffic and air pollution has come down.

As per the latest figures, al- most 10,000 vehicles are off the road every Thursday. This has not only resulted in a low traffic during the peak times but also helped in saving one lakh litres of fuel. Another highlight of this initiative is that the emission of greenhouse gases has been reduced by around 273 tonnes. Even though it began as a voluntary initiative, the participation has been overwhelming. “I have been avoiding my car for the past six Thursdays. I thought that it will take me more time to reach office, it was not the case… well by being part of this I am able to do at least something to decrease the pollution,” says Anand C.P, who is working in Hitech City. He also added that he and some of his friends have decided to avail public transport or car pooling whenever possible.

The‘Car-Free-Thursday’ initiative has been supported by the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC), which has added additional 50 to 70 buses to the IT Hub area during 8 am to 11 am and 5pm to 8pm. This move by TSRTC has resulted in increase in the number of commuters on Thursdays by 11,000. Though it seemed as an impossible task at first, the figures prove that changes can be brought if  citizens come together. “We now have concrete evidence that such an initiative is immensely doable, brings enormous benefits, and, in the end, is a cool and fun thing to be a part of.” said Jayesh Ranjan, Secretary, Department of Information & Technology, Electronics and Communication (ITE&C), Government of Telangana.

HYSEA has the support of over 1000 firms in the sector and also the assistance of various NGOs. Other than public transport, the organizers advice the participants in the initiative to use MMTS services and share auto for those coming from distant places and propose the use of cycles for those who reside nearby.

Organizers have joined hands with ‘Cykul’, a group that provides cycles for riding, as part of this initiative. They also encourage pooling of car and bike by the employees in the IT hub. World Car Free day on 22nd September was also observed by the members of ‘Car-Free-Thursdays’. Following the huge success of this initiative, Gurgaon and Bengaluru, the other IT hubs of the nation, are  also planning to observe ‘Car-Free-Thursdays’  to promote the idea.