Had the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) not been using its rickety buses in commercial operations some of the accidents taken place in the past few months could have been avoided.
According to sources, more than 2,200 old DTC buses have completed the maximum age of eight years in service and should have been phased out. DTC officials, however, said phasing out these buses would lead to a sudden shortage of buses in Delhi.
Of its fleet of 6,229 buses, DTC has 3,775 air-conditioned and non-AC low floor buses while the remaining 2,500-odd buses are standard floor old DTC buses. And a whopping 2,200 of these stand floor buses are more than eight year old and should have been phased out by now.
"If we phase out these buses then there will be a sudden shortage of buses on road and would lead to mayhem. Though these buses are old, most of them are still in perfect working condition," said a senior DTC officer requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to media.
DTC officials blamed failure of cluster bus scheme for its keeping old DTC buses in the fleet. "We had earlier worked out a phase out plan of our buses keeping in mind the introduction of private sector-run cluster buses on various routes. But there are just 200 cluster buses currently running on Delhi's roads. We need at least 6,500 buses for a smooth bus service in Delhi. If we phase out our old buses now there will be chaos," the official said.
According to Association of State Road Transport Undertakings guidelines, buses should not be allowed to run beyond eight years in city conditions.
"We have still decided to scrap 500 old buses by March. We hope to get 625 new low floor buses in next few months to replace these 500 buses," the official said.