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Citizens’ groups seek action to protect bus commuters from heat waves

NewsCitizens’ groups seek action to protect bus commuters from heat waves

NEW DELHI: Amid rising temperatures and possibility of heatwaves, the Public Transport Forum, Delhi, has urged the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) to implement a comprehensive Mobility Heatwave Action Plan. The rising temperatures are expected to make bus journeys uncomfortable and potentially hazardous, so it is essential to prioritize the well-being and safety of bus users and commuters.
While talking to The Sunday Guardian, Avinash Chanchal, campaign manager of Greenpeace, said: “As the lifeline of Delhi’s transportation system, buses play a vital role in facilitating the daily commute of a significant section of the population. To ensure that bus users and workers can travel comfortably during scorching summer days, it is imperative to create an environment that mitigates the impact of heatwave conditions.”
According to the Public Transport Forum and Greenpeace India, the DTC should collaborate with multiple stakeholders to develop short-term and long-term policy interventions that address the challenges posed by heatwaves. Drawing inspiration from successful initiatives and policy recommendations from other countries and cities, the Public Transport Forum and Greenpeace India have put forth some actionable recommendations: 1. Bus shelters should be installed with proper facilities such as drinking water, public toilets, and roofs at bus stops throughout Delhi to provide relief from the heat for bus users; 2. Equip bus depots with restrooms that offer adequate cooling facilities, ventilation, and drinking water for the comfort of bus workers during breaks; 3. Minimize wait times for passengers at bus stops to reduce their exposure to the heat; 4. Establish adequate medical facilities at bus depots to cater to bus workers who may be affected by heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke; 5. Temporarily reduce the number of non-AC buses during peak noon hours. These are some of the recommendations made by citizen groups.
“Women face multiple challenges while commuting by bus, and these difficulties have only intensified with the surge in temperatures. The added burden of travelling with our children amplifies these struggles. The lack of adequate amenities and provisions at bus stops poses additional hardships, leaving us with limited options to ensure the well-being of ourselves and our loved ones. Recognizing the pressing need, we call for the implementation of essential water and cooling facilities at bus stops and release a mobility heatwave action plan for DTC buses to alleviate the hardships faced by female passengers,” said Neetu Thakur, a women bus user from Neb Sarai.
Shakeel from Basti Suraksha Manch said: “There should be bus stops with proper shelter facilities in Delhi. The current design of bus shelters is not viable for the hot summers of Delhi. Bus shelters in Delhi should be designed in such a way that they stay cool during the summer heat.Drinking water facilities at bus shelters should be provided for bus users as well as for bus workers. Also, we need to consider the plight of bus workers during the hot summer season in Delhi. At bus depots, restrooms for bus workers do not have any proper cooling facilities for the summer heat. There should be proper cooling facilities at these restrooms at every bus depot with proper ventilation.”
The Public Transport Forum and Greenpeace India urged the Delhi Transport Corporation to prioritize the implementation of these measures to create a more climate-resilient and sustainable public transportation system in the city.

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