Delhi’s first corporate-run private bus service will finally roll out on city roads from May 2 onward.
Senior transport department officials said chief minister Sheila Dikshit is likely to flag off the first batch of 25 orange-coloured, non-air conditioned, low-floor buses of cluster 1 from Delhi Secretariat next Monday.
Cluster 1 will have 231 buses plying on 32 bus routes connecting south Delhi with central Delhi.
Transport officials said the initial batch of 25 buses may ply on the BRT corridor.
The scheme was to be launched before the Commonwealth Games.
Initially, unavailability of low-floor buses delayed the project.Meanwhile, the transport department managed to sign a contract with the companies to ply buses on 69 routes in cluster 3, 4 and 5 and also shortlisted the companies to ply buses on clusters 6, 7, 8 and 9.
Senior transport department officials said other clusters will also become operational soon.
“The buses under the cluster scheme will be equipped with automatic vehicle location system (AVLS), that will be tracking and reporting their location in real-time, as well as electronic ticketing machines (ETM) and automatic fare collection system (AFCS),” a senior DIMTS official said.
Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal transit System (DIMTS) is the consulting company that drafted corporatisation of the private bus operation scheme for Delhi and would supervise cluster bus operations on behalf of Delhi Government.
Delhi’s 657 bus routes have been divided into 17 clusters. A total of about 4,400 buses would ply in these 17 clusters.
Though not specified in the contract, Starbus will also introduce purple-coloured AC buses in cluster 1.
The same colour code — purple for AC buses and orange for non-AC buses — would be followed in other clusters also.
“We have introduced some unique and commuter-friendly features. The bus driver would be able to interact with passengers, through the public announcement system,” said a Starbus official.