The induction of low-floor buses may have modernised the public transport system in Delhi, but the swanky fleet of cherry-coloured air-conditioned buses and green non-AC buses has failed to inspire confidence among commuters.
The number of DTC buses may have increased, but commuters say they sometimes have to wait for 30-45 minutes — even during peak hours — to get a bus on a particular route."While there is abundance of buses on some routes, the DTC seems to have completely ignored other routes. And it is not my individual problem. I can see scores of people waiting with me for a bus," said Rupak Sharma, who lives in Dilshad Garden. Sharma earlier used to take route no. 280 or 281 from Barakhamba Road and now changes two-three buses to reach home.
Though the number of DTC buses has just doubled — from 3,000-odd to 6,200 buses — in the past three years, the number of routes the corporation runs its buses on has come down to almost half, from 787 to 376 since 2008. Commuters say several of the old routes, which used to cater to a huge number of people, have suddenly disappeared from DTC’s plan of things.
Commuters believe that south Delhi continues to get a preferential treatment while the DTC has completely ignored east, north and outer Delhi. Delhi government’s ambitious plan to run private buses on pre-designed clusters too began with south Delhi.
“I don’t think there is a direct bus to my office in Connaught Place (Super Bazaar, Parliament Street or Barakhamba Road, KG Marg) from Mukherjee Nagar where I live. Though I take the Metro to work, but there
have been times when the Metro services weren't available and we
have no option but to get fleeced by autorickshaw drivers,” said Priyanka Mehta, a media executive.
While most people agree that phasing out of Blueline buses has brought some semblance of order to city roads, many complain that their absence has added to commuting woes."When Blueline buses were on roads, the frequency of buses between Dwarka and Connaught Place varied between 5-10 minutes. It now takes not less than 30 minutes to get a bus for CP," said Anjali Pandey, a bank employee.
Senior DTC officials said the routes of buses are currently being rescheduled. “In the next three-four months, you will find marked improvement in the availability of buses on all routes,” said a senior DTC official.
“We are likely to start three more clusters in the next 30-45 days. Bus services will now improve,” said a transport department official.