The city government’s ambitious plan to run luxury buses for domestic and international airport from various parts of Delhi and NCR has hit a roadblock.
Urban Mass Transit Company (UMTC) — the firm that had signed a pact with the government to start the service — has failed to get buses that meet the tough specifications laid down by the government. Company officials said no bus manufacturer in India produces the kind of buses that are required for the service.
“We need 15-seater buses, which are BS IV complaint, CNG-propelled and air-conditioned. We’ve checked with the manufacturers, but such buses are not available.
Bigger buses for this service are not a viable option,” said a UMTC official.
“In the absence of specified rolling stock, we cannot roll out the service. We’ve apprised the government about it,” the official said.
According to the agreement signed by the Delhi government’s transport department with UMTC — a JV of Union ministry of urban Development (MoUD), government of Andhra Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) and Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Limited — in January 2010, the Delhi airport link buses had to be started by July 2010.
Though the actual fare was not decided, officials said a trip to the airport from the starting point would have worked out to be almost half of what radio taxis charge. With facilities like on-board camera, reclining seats and socket for laptop and mobile charging, the luxury coaches had to have the capacity of 10 passengers. With distinct look, the service had to initially start with 10 buses on two routes and was later to be extended to 17 routes, with 150 buses running on a 20-minutes frequency.
“The buses that we had decided to procure failed to meet the specifications. Two leading manufacturers later promised to manufacture the buses that we were looking for, but they are yet to come up even with a prototype,” the official said.