Eyeing the Municipal election, which is scheduled for April, and to boost public transport, the Aam Aadmi Party government has come up with a fresh policy to give free rides and concessions in its buses.
The policy, if approved by lieutenant governor Anil Baijal, will make travelling in both DTC as well as cluster (orange) buses free for senior citizens, students up to 21 years of age, disabled persons, war widows, national award winners and freedom fighters.
Besides, women and students above 21 years of age will have to pay 75% less for their bus journeys. The proposal, aimed at encouraging people to use public transport, will make travelling in buses completely free for MLAs too — if they opt to use them.
If the L-G gives his nod then people will get to avail the scheme in just two weeks from now as sources said the government wants to roll it out before the model code of conduct is imposed for the MCD election. Dates for the elections are likely to be announced by mid-March.
Unlike its previous attempt where the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government had decided to slash DTC fares by 75% for a month for everyone, the new proposal includes only four categories of those who will be eligible for discounted fares.
“Those belonging to EWS category, who have a monthly income of less than Rs20,000 will have to pay just Rs250 for a monthly pass instead of the existing rate of Rs1,000. Similar, discounts will be given to ration card holders, women and students above 21 years of age,” transport minister Satyendar Jain said on the sidelines of a foundation laying ceremony for an old-age home in Kanti Nagar.
In a first, the government is also going to make the new passes valid for all AC and non-AC bus categories including those under the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and the Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System (DIMTS) which operates the cluster buses.
Others, however, will get a monthly pass for all types of buses at Rs1,000 and a daily pass will be available at Rs50. The policy will be put up at the next cabinet meeting and after that it will be sent to the LG for his approval, said sources.
In January, the AAP government had proposed a flat fare of Rs5 in all non-air-conditioned DTC and cluster buses, and Rs10 in all air-conditioned buses for a month. But it was rejected by the L-G as the finance department had raised objections to it.
At present, a ride in an AC bus can cost anywhere from Rs10 to Rs25 and Rs5 to Rs15 in non-AC buses.