Private cluster bus service in south Delhi will soon have some more buses added to its fleet. Senior transport department officials said 50 "orange-coloured" low-floor buses would join the existing fleet of 48 buses from the first week of August.
While the existing 48 buses ply on three routes - 419, 423 and 422 - originating from Ambedkar Nagar Terminal in south Delhi, running along the BRT Corridor and connecting Old Delhi Railway Station, Kashmere Gate and central Delhi respectively, the new fleet of 50 buses would connect south Delhi with Anand Vihar interstate bus terminal in east Delhi.
While 30 buses are likely to ply on route 469, which connects Anand Vihar with Ambedkar Nagar, the remaining 20 buses would run on route number 534, which connects the ISBT with Mehrauli. A total of 232 buses would run under cluster 1 in the next couple of months primarily to cater to south Delhi.
In less than three months of its operation, corporate-run cluster buses have helped strengthen public bus service in south Delhi. Senior transport department officials said the existing fleet of 48 buses carry more than 50,000 passengers every day.
While DTC buses still issue paper tickets, commuters are given printed tickets from electronic ticketing machines that help maintain exact records of daily earnings, said a senior transport department official.
Interestingly, while the DTC buses earn about Rs 6,500 per day per bus, the earnings of the cluster buses cross Rs 8,000 per day per bus. "This is probably because of the operational efficiency. The fleet utilisation of these buses is 100%, while there is strict penalty on the operator for any kind of deficiency in services," said an official.
The transport department has divided 657 bus routes in Delhi in 17 clusters. More than 4,400 buses are likely to run on these 17 clusters in the next couple of years. While only one of these 17 clusters is currently operational, the transport department has already signed an agreement for four more clusters and has shortlisted companies for another four clusters.
"We are in a position to introduce buses on four more clusters in next few months. But we are yet to be allotted parking lots, where we could park these buses. Though the government has promised us bus depots at Kanjhawla in southwest Delhi, Sunehri Pul and Kushak Nala near south Delhi, we are yet to get the possession of the land," the official added.