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Last mile problem — in transportation!

September 14, 2007

The last mile problem in telecom is an issue close to the heart of all those part of the telecom industry. What it means is, providing or at least trying to provide some connectivity between two points where no other connectivity is possible. That’s how wireless in local loop (WiLL) evolved.

There’s another last mile problem — in commuting from one place to the other — at least if the distance is hardly anything. Not everyone’s blessed with cars, bikes, etc. Some people still have to depend on other means of transport — such as autorickshaws, buses, etc.

Well, my friend Bhaskar and I got into the “last mile problem in transportation or commuting”, while trying to reach The Eros International Hotel in Nehru Place from Panchsheel Enclave in Delhi. Not a single autorickshaw we stopped and asked to be taken to our destination was willing to drive us from Panchsheel to Nehru Place — which is barely 1-2km away.

We stopped and asked at least half a dozen autorickshaws, all of whom refused and merrily went their ways. Their reasons for not taking the route were: no mood, I’m headed this way; I’m driving on only straight; need to refill gas (maybe true), not interested, if you want to go to Trans Yamuna — welcome, and so on and so forth!

Finally, the one who agreed, only drove us from the Chirag flyover to Nehru Place — about a km away — charging Rs. 30, though he later settled for Rs. 25! This was daylight (evening light) robbery at its best! What could we do? We were getting late for an event!

Am sure there are several like us who’ve experienced such a plight. Seems all the autorickshaw folks are the same everywhere. It all depends on their mood and distance, and of course, the haggling for more money.

There are no short-distance buses either. Reminds me of all those times when I either took trams in some other cities of the world; and the best of them all — those 16-seater mini buses in Hong Kong — which ply point to point. The drivers never grimaced even if there was only one person — me — seated in the mini bus — especially the route from Wong Chuk Hang to Aberdeen!

Wish we had those mini buses here to travel short distances! Otherwise, we will continue to suffer from this last-mile problem in transportation!

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