Despite concerns of pollution and women's safety, the Delhi Transport Corpo-ration (DTC), which runs 5,500 buses every day, has failed to scale up its fleet.
The transport department is struggling to increase the number of cluster buses — monitored by the government but run by private operators — from 400 in five clusters to 5,500 in 17 clusters. But the plan is on hold because of lack of parking space for these buses.
"Operators are ready to roll out about 1,300 buses in four clusters (from 6th to 9th cluster). But there is no land to set up depots," admitted Delhi transport minister Ramakant Goswami.
The four clusters are: East Delhi-Shahadra/Nand Nagri, East Delhi-Anand Vihar, West Delhi-Uttam Nagar/Janakpuri and West Delhi-Dwarka/Palam.
"We have 42 depots for DTC buses and are trying to identify land for expansion. But in several cases, the DDA has expressed its inability to provide land," he said.
Government estimate says 63.5 acres are needed for the four proposed clusters but only 13 acres of land has been identified at Kair, where a depot is under construction.
Even in the five operational clusters, about 1,100 buses were supposed to be rolled out but only 400 are plying, mainly because of lack of space.
The government had sometime back classified the 657 bus routes, covering both DTC and private, into 17 clusters to mitigate on-road competition and provide network benefits. Each cluster will have private and DTC buses in the proportion of 50:50 for each route.
While 45 lakh people use DTC buses, including 3,700 low-floor ones, every day, 400 cluster buses cater to 4 lakh passengers per day. In each of the currently operational five clusters, DTC also runs 50% of the buses to ensure competition and better services.
The colour of cluster buses is orange. DTC runs two types of buses — green and red. Cluster buses operate between 5am and 10.30pm. The service ends at 11.30pm.