Electric cars on hire to ease travel woes
New Delhi: Gurgaon, bordering New Delhi, referred to as the Millennium City and Cyber City of Haryana state, has for years been discredited due to a lack of a public transport system.
This has affected both the middle-income group and the economically weaker sections. While the Rapid Metro Rail Gurgaon link to Delhi Metro has made some difference, intra-city connectivity still requires a lot to be done.
The way the administration is moving, it might take another few years before the situation becomes a little easy for those taking cycle rickshaws to their destinations. But for other travellers there's hope in sight.
Uthaan, a non-government organisation, which earlier introduced battery-run-autos all over the city, is now set to offer electric cars on rent to make life easier for middle-class commuters.
Sanjay Kaushik, president of Uthaan, says, "We are targeting those residents who own a vehicle, but need another for the family. They won't need to buy a car, as we intend renting out the battery-operated Reva cars on an hourly or daily basis."
The scheme is being worked along the concept of Zipcar that has a fleet of more than 8,000 vehicles throughout the US and the UK and over half a million members called Zipsters.
Kaushik said the idea was to promote it as a good revenue model and then let entrepreneurs look for avenues in the field and take over.
Providing details, he explains, "The sky is the limit in Gurgaon which lacks a proper transport system. We will provide options like hiring a vehicle for Rs18,000 per month or Rs150 per hour or 20 kilometres. The pollution-free cars are not only easy to drive, as they are without gears, but also require little space for parking."
After a trial run of 15 days, which was undertaken recently, the drive will be initiated with five cars, manufactured by Mahindra and Mahindra. The fleet will be expanded in due course after feedback from customers.
Kaushik said the cars, only for residents of Gurgaon, would be available to members who would be enrolled only after thorough verification.
Though the residents are keenly awaiting the scheme to be launched early next month, so that they can avoid waiting for taxis or haggling with auto rickshaw drivers, the NGO also has other plans.
Tie-ups with hotels
Kaushik said that negotiations were on with some hotels in the city, which are keen on hiring the vehicles for their marketing purpose.
On hearing this, a harassed commuter remarked, "A survey recently reported that Gurgaon was considered the best city in India to work and live in, but in my opinion it's good only for rich people, who have chauffeur-driven fleets of vehicles.
"A major chunk of my salary is spent on transport, as I cannot face the daily harassment in buses and auto rickshaws. I am keenly looking forward to hiring the Reva vehicle on a monthly basis. And I hope the number of vehicles is increased, or else the entire purpose of a good scheme will be defeated."