Be prepared to wait longer for buses on your route once the Bluelines are off the road.
Despite having more than 6,200 buses, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is not capable of making optimum utilisation of its fleet. Reason — severe crunch of drivers.
Though there are around 12,500 drivers on DTC rolls - permanent as well as contractual — senior DTC officials said not more 9,000 are available to run buses on any given day.
"While one-third of our drivers are on their weekly offs or on medical or privilege leaves on any given day, another 5-7 per cent are either those who can't drive due to disability despite being on rolls or their drivers licence are suspended. Some are busy on some other job," said a senior DTC official, requesting anonymity.
On Monday, 4,800 buses operated on Delhi roads in the morning but only 3,900 buses could be operated in the evening. Almost 2,300 buses were parked in depots for want of drivers on Monday evening, DTC sources said.
While DTC is likely to get 200-250 more buses in the next few days, sources said there were no drivers to run these buses. Delhi transport minister Arvinder Singh Lovely, however, said the inconvenience would be temporary.
"We are likely to get 5,000 new drivers in the next few days, which will help tide over the crunch in the corporation. These drivers have cleared the entrance exam and interview conducted by the Delhi Staff Selection Board," Lovely said.
"The board has promised to give us 3,000 of these drivers in the next 15 days. Once we have these people, we will put in all our resources to check their papers and conduct their medical tests. We hope to give them mandatory 15-day training and have these drivers absolutely ready to run our buses latest by December 10," the DTC official said.
"After December 14, the DTC will be able to run 5,800-6,000 buses in both morning and evening, which will certainly take care of Delhi's transportation needs," the official added.
More than 40 lakh Delhiites travel by buses — DTC and Blueline combined — every day.
With 2,000 more drivers likely to join after December, DTC officials said they would be able to provide service till late night.