It was in November 2007 that Delhi government had announced its roadmap to phase out “killer” Blueline buses.
Three years down the line, the phase-out plan has not only picked up momentum, the government this time seems to be in a hurry to complete the process. On Monday, the government announced December 14 as the last date to that Blueline will run.
Delhi transport minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said work permits of operators of rickety old buses will not be extended.
Interestingly, in an affidavit to the High Court, which is overseeing the Blueline phase out, in November 2007, Delhi government had promised to phase out 3,656 Blueline buses by July 2012. After phasing out about 1,300 buses in the past two years, the government seems to have suddenly gone into overdrive and announced the phase out of the remaining 2,300 buses. “I can’t leave Delhi on the mercy of Blueline operators,” Lovely said on Monday.
Senior transport department officials say, there were about 2,300 Blueline and 5,000 DTC buses before the Commonwealth Games. With the Games over, about 600 buses on Games duty have also started rolling out. “We will also get about 200 new low-floor AC buses, which will add to the fleet. With a fleet of about 6,500 buses, we have adequate buses to take care of Delhi’s transportation needs,” said a transport department official.
More than 40-lakh people travel by buses — DTC and Blueline combined — everyday.
Lovely said DTC is working to streamline its system to ensure that the maximum number of buses leave the depot daily. DTC needs about 15,000 drivers to run its entire fleet.
“We will soon get 5,000 drivers. It will help us run our buses in two-and-a half shifts every day and solve Delhi’s transportation needs,” Lovely said.
Interestingly, Delhi government has a case pending in the High Court on phasing out of Blueline buses. Lovely said his government was confident the court would accept its decision.
“We will explain to the court in what circumstances we took the decision. I am confident the court will accept our proposal,” he said. The Delhi High Court had stayed the government’s move to phase out the Bluelines in February this year arguing that DTC alone was not capable to meet the requirement of public transport.
Officials said government would file an affidavit in the High Court on October 28, the next date of hearing in the case.