The Delhi government's plan to introduce two new bus services for the Capital before the Games — luxury buses for airport and Corporate-run buses in south Delhi — has got a severe jolt.
Delhi can now only have Euro IV-compliant buses, which are still not available in the market. Senior Delhi government officials said the two major bus giants — Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland — are still making Euro III buses to complete earlier commitments to the Capital and other states.
While the airport link service had to start early this year, first phase of Corporate-run buses on cluster I (south Delhi) had to start operating with 39 buses by the Games.
"Our requirement is CNG-run, air-conditioned, Euro IV-compliant medium size buses, which are not available in market. We spoke to all the bus manufacturers but we have not got any firm commitment from them as to when they would be able to supply buses. The government understood our problem," said a senior Urban Mass Transit Company official.
"Their (UMTC's) problem is genuine. We have given an extension of six months to the company," DTC chairman and MD Naresh Kumar said.
The UMTC had inked an agreement with Delhi Transport Corporation in June 2009 to run medium-sized buses with passenger capacity of 8-10 people and enough space to keep luggage from 17 pick-up points in Delhi and NCR. Apart from being air-conditioned luxury coaches, these buses will also have facilities such as on-board camera for greater safety of passengers, recliner seats, baggage handling facilities and power socket for laptop and mobile charging. The buses will have a distinctive look and colour combination for easy identification.
On the other hand, a senior official of Star Bus Services Private Limited, the company that bagged the contract to run 232 private buses in a cluster of 31 pre-defined routes in south Delhi, also confirmed the bus service will not be available during the games.
"We need Euro IV buses which were not available till now. We have now got the confirmation from both Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland that they will be able to supply us buses in a month's time. We will now place the order for buses in two-three days and will start the bus service in October itself," a senior official of Start Bus Services said.