Brace for commuting nightmare as 1,300 orange buses may go off road
The Delhi government’s plan to add more buses to the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) fleet has hit a roadblock as private operators have refused to add more vehicles till the existing cluster scheme is set right.delhi Updated: Jan 29, 2016 00:34 IST
The Delhi government’s plan to add more buses to the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) fleet has hit a roadblock as private operators have refused to add more vehicles till the existing cluster scheme is set right.
Not only this, Delhi may lose 1,300 buses from the current fleet of 6,000 as private operators are planning to exit the service. Under the cluster scheme, private operators ply buses on routes allotted to them. They had been assigned the orange colour.
Sources said operators of cluster buses are facing a loss of Rs 3 crore to Rs 4 crore each year and have written to the government to resolve their issues otherwise they will be forced to stop running the service.
“The cluster scheme has been executed badly and government needs to review it before planning to include more buses. The government has no space to park the buses they have so they first get parking space and build depots. Buying more buses is not the only solution,” said one of the operators.
As per their contract with the government, the operators can withdraw buses if they are unable to run it and if it happens, it will be a big blow to Delhi’s public transport system. The number of buses has already gone down by 25% in the past five years as many old buses were phased out. Private operators have refused to induct more buses till problems are resolved.
According to operators, the government had promised to review the terms and conditions of the scheme every year. But after over two years of launching the service, the government has not reviewed it once. ”Incorrect interpretation of contract clauses has made the contract unfeasible. The government deduct fine even in case of exceptional circumstances such as rain. We cannot complete trips if there is traffic jam everywhere,” the operators said.
Delhi has been divided into 17 clusters and 4-5 operators’ run orange standard-floor buses under them. Delhi government hopes to add 3,000 buses by October, of which 1,000 buses are planned under the cluster scheme. They are expected to hit the road by April.
“By July-August we plan to procure 1,000 buses. The government also plans to purchase 1,000 premium buses with facilities such as wifi and LCD screens and advance booking of seats by the passengers. If necessary, we will review the scheme and we will talk to operators why they are not ready to run the buses,” said a Delhi government official.