Give a Hoot — You Can't Commute
Frustrated commuters in Delhi burned buses yesterday to protest an order by India’s Supreme Court to ban diesel-burning vehicles from the city’s roads. In 1998, the court ruled that vehicles used for public transport must be converted from diesel to cleaner-burning natural gas by the end of March 2001. Very few attempts were made to convert the vehicles, and as a result some 15,000 buses, 20,000 rickshaws, and 50,000 taxicabs have been forced off the roads. Commuters have had to wait at bus stops for hours and then cling to the sides of the few converted buses. The order was meant to address Delhi’s notorious air pollution problems, but S. Sundar, former secretary of transportation for New Delhi, worries that the existing “social disorder” could actually worsen pollution by encouraging people to give up on public transportation and drive more personal cars.