After deciding to phase out 'killer' blueline fleet, Delhi Government on Monday opened the transport sector to corporate entities under the ambitious 'cluster' scheme whereby private operators will run a fleet of over 900 swanky buses on zone basis.
Modelled on the lines of transport service in London and Paris, the buses which will be on roads in six months will have GPS system and other facilities and were primarily being launched to replace the blueline buses for which Government has set December 14 deadline to shunt them out.
The Delhi Cabinet, presided over by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, as part of first phase of the project decided to give contract to two private entities which will run the bus service in four separate areas allocated to them.
The Government had divided nearly 650 bus routes across the city into 17 clusters, each comprising profitable and non profitable routes and decided to give each cluster to a private operator.
Surprisingly, Government has revised some of its earlier decision including having 60 per cent Delhi Transport Corporation buses in each cluster against 40 per cent buses by private entities.
"It has now been decided that in each cluster 60 per cent buses will be run by private entities and 40 per cent will be operated by the government-run DTC," officials said, adding the government will also offer financial support to the private entities for the new clusters.
"We have decided to award clusters two, three, four and five to the successful bidders who will have to start their service within next six months. The total number of buses in these four clusters will be 682," Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said.
Government had already awarded the first cluster to Star Bus Services Pvt Ltd which is likely to start their service with 232 buses later this month along the BRT corridor in South Delhi.
"Within next six months, we will have a total of 914 buses in these five clusters including the cluster given to Star Bus Pvt Ltd. We will start the tender process for remaining clusters soon," Lovely said.
Officials said cluster 2 has been awarded to Indraprastha Logistics Ltd which had quoted minimum amount of Rs 30.88 per kilometre. The operator will run 232 buses in the area allotted to it.
Clusters three, four and five have been awarded to A B Grain Spirits Pvt Ltd. For cluster three the company will get Rs 36.68 per km, while for cluster four and five, it will be given Rs 35.69 and Rs 34.79 per kilometre.
As per the plan finalised by Delhi Integrated Multimodal Transit System (DIMTS), the transport department will finalise the bus fares which will go to the government while the private operator will be paid a fixed amount on the basis of every kilometre travelled.