In a step towards improving the public transport in the city, the Delhi government has added 100 new GPS-enabled buses in its fleet and plans to add 250 more during the next two months and 450 AC buses this year.
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia flagged off new buses outside the Delhi Secretariat. The induction of 100 new cluster buses will facilitate connectivity for commuters in the Capital, he said.
“The new cluster buses are GPS-enabled and comfortable. We are also developing 31 new bus depots and are awaiting approval from DDA in this regard,” transport minister Satyendar Jain said.
A plan is also being processed to facilitate a multilevel parking at bus depots to ease traffic congestion and parking woes, he added.
According to KK Dahiya, special transport commissioner, “Approximately 20 acre land is being utilised in Bawana and Narela to develop new bus depots that will have multilevel parking.”
Besides urban specifications and safety tests, the buses are fitted with 41 ‘anti-vandalism’ seats (that won’t come off easily) and have a better seating arrangement to ensure the comfort of passengers.
With the addition of 100 buses, the cluster fleet strength has risen to 1,725. They will be largely catering to north, east and west Delhi on eight additional cluster routes. Additional buses will not only boost public transport, but will also help take at least 5,000-6,000 cars off the city roads.
In their first budget, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had promised to induct 10,000 more buses in five years while in the manifesto, the promise was to add 5,000 buses. In its second budget presented last year, the government said it would procure 1,000 new low floor non-AC buses, 1,000 under the cluster bus scheme and another 1,000 under a new premium category during 2016-17.
However, not a single bus has been added to the low-floor fleet and only 215 have been added under the cluster scheme. The plan for premium buses did not materialise as the L-G asked the government to rework on the proposal.
Data show that bus fleet has reduced by over 35% in the last six years. Delhi Transport Corporation, which used to operate 6,204 buses in 2010-11, is operating only 4,020 buses due to which ridership has also reduced considerably. Only 21.80% Delhi commutes by buses, but the share of buses among all registered vehicles in Delhi has gone down from 1.52% in 1980-81 to less than 0.36% now. The depleting fleet of DTC buses and its image of poor man’s service have kept commuters away.
The Delhi government and the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) which runs the cluster bus service are in the final leg of procuring standard floor non-AC buses.
The buses will be able to seat 42 people, more than DTC’s 35-seater low floor buses. “The fares will be charged through electronic ticketing machines,” said an official.
In September, the government inducted 100 buses under the cluster fleet. In the next phase, it promised to add 800 buses, of which 450 buses will be air conditioned.