The Delhi Metro is once again about to miss the deadline for introducing 300 feeder buses.
The fleet of buses - to be procured in three clusters each of 100 vehicle - was to connect several commuter stations with residential colonies in various parts of Delhi. They were scheduled to begin plying on city roads by November.
The Delhi Metro, at least three months after it claimed to have completed the process of selecting the company that would buy, operate and maintain the feeder mini buses, on Friday got the nod to purchase only 228 vehicles from the state-level steering committee on Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM).
The November deadline was set by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) after a parliamentary panel on urban development had asked it in April to ensure that new feeder buses begin plying on city roads in six months.
The contract for the project has already been awarded to M/s Rajdhani Bus Cluster Service of Delhi. According to DMRC officials, the new feeder services were scheduled to start operations in November after clearance from the transport department.
The DMRC had failed at least twice in the past two years to introduce new feeder buses citing "technical reasons".
"Under the JnNURM scheme, the urban development ministry will release funds to purchase 228 buses through the Delhi government by March. The buses will be inducted from July 2013," said an official of DMRC.
The DMRC now operates 120 mini feeder buses. Each is capable of carrying 18-20 passengers. They operate on 17 routes across the city connecting about 20 Metro stations.
The new buses are more spacious and each can accommodate 28-32 passengers. They will operate on 72 approved routes and will originate from 46 Metro stations.