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Destination bus: Signages, pamphlets, flexible time slots may draw passengers

HT found that some simple interventions by the Delhi government and the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), which operates the DS buses, can pull the service back on track.

delhi Updated: May 28, 2017 15:20 IST
DTC's DS 20 bus which heads to Balco Apartments from Shivaji Stadium Bus stop.
DTC's DS 20 bus which heads to Balco Apartments from Shivaji Stadium Bus stop.(Saumya Khandelwal/HT PHOTO)

What could be one of its most successful projects in urban mobility, motivating car users to use public transport, has not been able to deliver along expected lines.

The Destination Bus Service, a concept proposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), was aimed at decongesting Delhi and providing people an easy, comfortable ride to their offices on public transport buses.

As most of the buses are running almost empty, HT travelled on three different routes to understand why the project is faltering.

HT found that some simple interventions by the Delhi government and the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), which operates the DS buses, can pull the service back on track.

Users give the ride a thumbs-up

All passengers using the service said the ride was comfortable as it is air-conditioned and wanted it to continue.

“It is not at all crowded and the journey is hassle free,” said 64-year old Rajbir Singh who was travelling in the bus DS-20A that starts from Shivaji Stadium bus stop and terminates at Patparganj (Balco Apartments).

“Where else can I travel such a distance in just R 20? Hasanpur gaon (village), where I stay, is only a five-minute walk from the bus stop.”

No ad campaign

Most people are unaware of the service, which means the government needs to promote it on different platforms.

Sakshi Vashisht from Patparganj said she was unaware of the service. “I drive to my office in Connaught Place. If it (DS buses) is comfortable then I guess I can try it,” she said.

Vashisht felt that the government should advertise it. “Not many people read ads in newspapers. They should run a social media campaign, put online ads and advertise on hoardings,” she said.

Reacting to the lukewarm response to the service, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had on May 18 directed the Delhi government to advertise destination buses.

After the tribunal order, the Delhi traffic police had begun distributing pamphlets about the routes.

But HT found that in most cases, the pamphlets are being distributed only to those who are alighting from the buses.

Lack of signage at bus stands

At 36 lakh, the daily ridership of DTC buses is 10 lakh more than that of Delhi Metro. This means that 36 lakh people who travel in DTC buses daily have no clue about the special service.

“The bus stops do not have any signage or banner that would tell me about the service. It is difficult to spot the bus. It should show nearby places from the destination point,” said BS Sharma, a Janakpuri resident.

Others suggested landmarks near the bus stops must be provided in the advertisements so that people can reach the pick-up point easily.

Less flexibility in evening bus

Commuters complained that the timings were odd. While there are nine different timings for the morning buses, in the evening the buses leave at one time.

They said their office hardly gets over by 5.55 pm, the time the evening bus leaves.

“I always miss the 5.55pm bus as my office shift gets over after 6.30pm. The government should introduce buses that run till 7pm so that office-going people like me can catch it,” said Anant Kumar, 42, a factory worker. He lives in southwest Delhi’s Rajapuri.

Shilpa Patil, a 38-year-old resident of Dwarka Sector 4 who has been using the service, said, “More buses should be introduced between 8am and 9am. Since only one bus is moving presently on a particular route, I have to start early from home so that I do not miss it.”

“I reach office way before the reporting time,” she said.

A few more stops on the route

Drivers and conductors said the DTC could introduce at least 2-3 more stops on the route to encourage passengers to use the service.

“My bus crosses congested areas such as Laxmi Nagar, which has a lot of bus users. People want us to open the bus doors, but we cannot as it is against the rule. So a stop or two in such areas won’t do any harm,” said Sunil Kumar who drivers DS-20A bus on the Shivaji Stadum-Patparganj route.