This has been a happy week for us. The people and the voice of reason have spoken. Regarding the ongoing BRT case being heard in the Delhi High Court, the judges have “dismissed the writ petition without any specific order but highlights the mobility crisis and upholds the guiding principles for sustainable transportation”.
Plain and simple, this means that the BRT has been given the official support by the court and this is time for us to feel vindicated. This is in line with the incumbent policy and the environmental stand that OMLogic has always taken in favour of the greener policy option.
Unless you have been living under a rock in Delhi, you have seen the debate flare up in the past six years. Those against and those for the BRT system in Delhi have put across their points in the public debate with varying levels of success i.e. the vocal minority has sometimes outshouted the silent majority i.e. 42% of Delhi’s population people who actually travel by buses.
It was under these circumstances that we, in May, earlier this year, decided to take things into our own hands. Along with a other concerned citizens, NGOs, public policy and public design experts, we started a social media campaign that talked about how Delhi really loves its buses.
The results were there for all to see within a week. The Facebook page garnered 13k+ people support within a week of its inception. Many opinion makers were contacted and influenced through Twitter and many others actively displayed supported by sharing and making viral the videos in support of the cause.
The really interesting outcomes, learning and insight of this campaign for us were more than one. Firstly, it was obvious that whatever is being said in the popular media need not be the only voice and most certainly, not the only valid voice. Prior to this campaign, the only news reports and op-eds about BRT were negative and critical of the government.
Second happy outcome for us is the re-affirmation of the power of social media. The fact that we bore the brunt of then vocal opinion of many newspapers meant that we were going up against the tide. That wasn’t easy but the final outcome shows that it certainly is doable thanks to the grassroots power of social media.
Have you been a part of this campaign? Are you passionate about the cause? We would love to hear from you. Let us know your feedback in the comments below and/or write on the Delhi Loves Buses Facebook page.
PS: You can read the full judgment here [PDF].