Commuters in the city can hope for better transport facilities as the ambitious cluster bus service to be run by corporate entities and seen as replacement for the 'killer' Blueline fleet will be launched this week.
The Star Bus Pvt Ltd, which was awared the first cluster in South Delhi, will begin the operation with 50 low floor swanky buses in the area. While non-airconditioned buses will be orange, the colour of airconditioned buses will be purple.
"The cluster service will be launched this week. It will significantly improve the transport services for the commuters," Delhi Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely told PTI.
Delhi government had in 2009 divided nearly 650 bus routes across the city into 17 clusters, each comprising profitable and non-profitable routes, and decided to give each cluster to a private operator.
Three corporate entities were already given contract to operate the service in five clusters and transport department officials said they are expecting a fleet size of around 800 buses under first five clusters by the middle of this year.
The cluster bus service, modelled on bus services in London and many other European cities, is seen as a replacement for the Blueline buses for which the government has set January 31 deadline for a complete phase out.
The buses under cluster service will have an onboard passenger information system on the lines of Delhi Metro through which commuters will be able to know various information like upcoming bus stops and expected time of arrival etc.
All the buses under cluster service will have global positioning system, temperature reader and clocks while conductors will issue tickets through Electronic Ticketing Machine (ETMs).
The Starbus will operate a total of 231 low-floor buses in South Delhi and cover 32 routes. The buses under cluster service will be Euro-IV compliant.
As per the plan finalised by Delhi Integrated Multimodal Transit System (DIMTS), the transport department will finalise the bus fares which will go to the government while the private operator will be paid a fixed amount on the basis of every kilometre travelled.
Last month the government had shunted 823 Blueline buses out of a total of 2,052 and set January 31 as the last day for the fleet which gained notoriety for their involvement in frequent road accidents in the city.