HYDERABAD: The ‘Car Free Thursday’ initiative, which was launched in the city’s IT corridor seven weeks ago, is steadily gaining popularity. If one visits the Hitec City area on any Thursday, one can definitely see the difference _ a lot more people using bicycles or volunteers standing with placards reading ‘Share the Road’, ‘Your Car is Cute, but Not on Thursdays’, ‘Happiness is Going Car-free’.
The ‘Car Free Thursday’ was initiated by the Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association (HYSEA) on August 6 to create awareness about the pollution emitted by motorised vehicles and its environmental impact. Techies have decided to shun their bikes and cars every Thursday and to opt for alternative mode of transport like car pooling, bike pooling, walking, cycling or using public transport for de-congestion of the roads and cleaner air.
Vishalakshi Vuyyala, founder-director of IdentCITY, says more companies and individuals are coming forward to be part of the initiative. “The initiative is slowly gaining popularity. Recently, ten more companies have expressed their interest. So, from this week, nearly 50 companies will be taking part in ‘Car Free Thursday’. Another heartening fact is that many CEOs are coming forward to build facilities like parking lots for cycles to enable more number of employees to use cycles on Thursdays,” she says.
“To intensify the awareness programme we are planning to ask one lakh school children to make hand-made greeting cards for IT employees asking them to leave some road space for the next generation. We think this will have a lot of impact as receiving a hand-made card in this computer world means a lot,” Vishalakshi adds.
Avinash Mohanty, DCP (Traffic), Cyberabad, says, “The initiative is very good and IT employees need to be praised for coming up with the idea, but the impact cannot be felt immediately. There are lakhs of cars on city roads and a 10 pc reduction in number is hard to notice. If this continues for a couple of years more, then the change will be more visible and the exact impact can be known.”
Haritha B, a software engineer who has been cycling her way from Kukatpally to Hitec City on every Thursday in the past seven weeks, says cycling is as safe as walking on the roads. “There is this misconception that cycling in heavy traffic can be fatal. But I find it as safe as walking and time-saver too. It takes about 20 minutes less than a car ride to reach my office. Having separate lanes for cycles would be much better and would encourage more people to opt for this healthy mode of transport,” she suggests.
P Vasu, an employee of Virtusa, says, “Car pooling is only option for me because public transport buses are always overcrowded and AC buses are very few. The government should ply more AC buses from various points to Hitec City.”
HYSEA president and managing director of Progress Software Ramesh Loganathan observes, “Because of the Bakrid festival, we had comparatively even lesser number of vehicles today and there is hardly any traffic. In the coming weeks we want to intensify the programme and create more awareness about the issue.”