Come May and the Capital’s important business and residential hubs will be connected with non-stop bus services, the latest attempt by the government to make people give up their cars for public transport.
Delhi has in recent years seen rapidly deteriorating air quality, with vehicles among key contributors to pollution. More than 530 new cars were registered every day last year, suggesting that those who could afford them were more likely to use private vehicles than buses or the Metro.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered the Delhi government on Thursday to introduce ‘destination buses’ — stopping only at origin and destination points.
Initial routes will connect residential areas such as Dwarka Sector 3 (Madhu Vihar), Punjabi Bagh, Vasant Vihar, Kalkaji, Janakpuri D Block, Rohini Sector 22 and Badarpur Border to commercial districts such as the CGO complex, Nehru Place and Bikaji Cama Place during peak office hours.
The services will be run by the Delhi Transport Corporation and the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS).
“The morning trip time for DIMTS buses would be 8 am and in the evening it would start at 6 pm... DTC buses will have different trip time depending on the routes. Some would start at 7:55 am, 8:20 am and 8:45 am, while the evening ones would begin at 5:45 pm,” a DTC official said.
Experts said the services can potentially help take off a considerable number of cars from the roads, and free up parking lots.
“Introducing destination buses would surely help, but it should be a part of the larger plan of a ‘stratified bus service’. Making bus service more convenient and attractive for different user groups is the only way now to push ridership. Bengaluru has already implemented this and it has been well received by people,” said Anumita Rouchowdhury, executive director at Centre for Science and Environment.
The DTC has proposed 20 trips of air-conditioned buses, while the DIMTS said it would run 26 non-AC bus trips.
The NGT will take a call on the final routes from what the two operators have proposed.
Officials said a few other business hubs like Netaji Subhash Place, ITO, Connaught Place, Barakhamba Road and Laxmi Nagar Scope building are likely to be connected in a subsequent phase.
“Once the service begins, a survey will be done to find out whether those using the destination buses have actually given up their cars or are the same ones who already using buses. The NGT has asked to run buses on routes where ridership or revenue is the least,” a transport department official said.