'Car-free day' initiative finds many takers in IT city

The 'Car-Free-Thursday' initiative launched in the IT corridor in the city aims to reduce the number of vehicles on road to 'free up' space and also solve parking problems in the various IT companies

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HYDERABAD, September 27: The 'Car-Free-Thursday' initiative launched in the IT corridor here to encourage IT/ITeS sector employees to use public transport, carpools, cycles and walk to work, seems to be making notable headway in the city. Launched on August 6, the initiative undertaken by Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association (HYSEA) in association with Telangana's Transport department, Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation, Cyberabad Security Council and different organisations aims to reduce the number of vehicles on road to "free up" space and also solve parking problems in the various IT companies. "Since the launch of the campaign, most companies in the IT corridor reported reduction of up to 10-20 percent of cars on Thursdays. An average of 10,000 motor vehicles is reduced each Thursday," Hyderabad Software Exports Association (HYSEA) President Ramesh Loganathan said. IT employees and volunteers have been creating awareness about the initiative by holding placards, 'Thank You For Taking the Bus', 'I don't drive this car on Thursday' at various intersections and bus stops to encourage and thank those commuting by alternate modes of transport for one day in a week. The industry here employs more than 3.5 lakh people directly and about 70,000 people indirectly, who are daily commuters. 41 percent of the employees use private modes of transport while the remaining 59 percent use buses, office transport, shared auto, cycle or walk to work, Loganathan said. "So net employees using cars is about 40,000 and those on motor vehicles is about 1,10,000 in the Hi-Tec city and Gachibowli," he said. Through this initiative, more than 2,00,000 man-hours has been saved due to reduced travel time. It has also helped in cutting down more than 1 lakh litres of fuel and helped in lowering air pollution by avoiding 273 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the HYSEA President said. "We will continue to create awareness among the IT fraternity on this initiative without any pause and also build on the momentum created," he added. To sustain this initiative, Public Transport Department has also come forward with a competitive package for contract-to-hire buses for the companies, which engage private buses to transport employees in the IT corridor. Telangana IT Secretary Jayesh Ranjan said, "Much ahead of other Indian cities, Hyderabad started car-free day initiative in the Cyberabad enclave every Thursday. The ground that has been meticulously prepared under the Green IT campaign since over past one year has made the rolling-out of the car-free day initiative relatively easy." "Its a voluntary initiative from the industry. Through this campaign we will also promote alternative modes of transport like carpooling, cycling, Multi-Modal Transit System (MMTS) and walking to work," Loganathan said.