Ever travelled across the institute in an e-shuttle, watching the scenery around you in the morning, with everyone hurriedly rushing to the class? The feeling of despair and anxiousness that comes around the fact – *aaj bhi attendance gayi*, is a thing that probably everyone has experienced. Salt on burn is when we see a cycle ride passing our e-shuttle (sigh).
E-shuttles were introduced in the institute in the spring semester of 2018 as a replacement for the once-popular Tum-Tums, and have been a major form of travel in the institute ever since. There was an institute-wide survey conducted by Insight on E shuttles, based on which this article has been written. It will give you an overview of how the respondents feel about the new E-shuttles and discuss some common problems faced by them.
Did the ‘change’ change something?
The pie chart shows the monetary change related problems faced by the respondents in the institute while travelling in the E-shuttle (oh, Hi Drake!).
Major chunk of the respondents did not face a problem of carrying change while travelling in the E-shuttle. Certainly keeping the charges in multiples of 10 helps (*cough* Rs. 18 for auto *cough*). Still, around a third of all respondents did end up having trouble and delays due to unavailability of currency.
Cleanliness is a very big factor while travelling as it makes the ride comfortable and ensures hygiene. In the plot, y-axis shows the frequency, and the x-axis shows the hygiene rating on a scale of 5.
More than 60% of all respondents gave e-shuttle a rating of 4 or more in hygiene (average score greater than 3.5). This certainly can be concluded as one of the plus points e-shuttles have.
Majority portion in the sample wants the e-shuttles to run during late hours too. Although auto-rickshaws are available during the late evening/night hours, a fair share of respondents want the service hours of e-shuttles to increase. E-shuttles are more economical for travel within the institute, which might explain this response.
Mode of payment-
The above chart shows the preferred way of payment where-
Minimum balance card that offers discounted rides-22.5%
BHIM UPI/ PayTM/ PhonePE-47.5%
Digital payment seems to be the most preferred payment method. This would also explain why change of currency was not a problem for a large segment. The second most preferred method is payment via cash, followed by an interesting option of having a minimum balance card that offers discounted rides to respondents who frequently travel using the e-shuttles. Even though the card-mode would eventually lead to lower effective cost per trip, it hasn’t picked up so well as of now.
Average waiting time-
The x-axis shows the frequency, and y-axis represents average waiting time.
A few lucky ones (25%) end up getting the e-shuttles within 5 minutes of wait. These are those people present for the right thing, in the right place, at the right time. For a majority (43%), waiting time is 5-10 minutes.
Need for speed, literally-
We’ll have someone special describe what the respondents feel about the speed of the E-shuttle.
Watching cycles overtake e-shuttles is no rare sight. The E-shuttle is considered to be extremely slow, with the speed being rated as a 1 or 2 by maximum respondents.
Preference (Tum-Tum vs e-shuttle) –
The chart shows the preference of Tum-Tums over the existing e-shuttles. 60%(Green) respondents want our vintage vehicle back, 15%(Orange) said they are okay with either of the two, whereas 25%(Red) prefer the new e-shuttles .
Tum-tums did have their own set of advantages (and disadvantages). They were free (i.e no payment while travelling), fast and frequent. At the same time overloading was a big issue (fun for some, but concern for all). There can be logical reasons too, behind the selection of ‘Bring tum-tums back!’ option, but it might also have been driven by memories and emotional reasoning for some.
Value for money-
E-shuttle is accepted as an economical mode of transportation (or even better) by most of the respondents (~70%).
A ride within the campus, say hostel to LCH complex, is charged Rs. 10. A strong majority seems to be comfortable with these prices and do not wish for a change. It must be noted that a similar ride in an auto-rickshaw would cost you almost twice the amount. The reasoning behind some people considering it a bit pricey might be that you can travel for an effectively lower price in an auto-rickshaw if three people share it – it’ll still cost a total of Rs. 18, or Rs. 20, i.e Rs.6-7 per person.
The road not taken
The students were asked their opinion on having a additional route, leading to YP gate (via library). Majority of the respondents were strongly in favour of this.
This additional route could be a major help. A ride to the library, labs, YP gate would end up saving time, as well as providing comfort to all who have to take that road regularly, which is quite a large no. of students. A 70% ‘Yes’ response to this question certainly demands the authorities to give it a thought, and check the operational feasibility.
E-shuttles are perceived to be fairly priced, and is considered as a clean mode of transportation. On the downside, many respondents believe e-shuttles are very slow and have a decent amount of waiting time. There are certain changes respondents want to be worked upon if possible. It includes operation of e-shuttles for longer hours, and an additional route (library to YP gate). Also, it has been ‘verified’ that our long-lost veteran, tum-tum, is still loved the same.