Travelling in old rickety buses and being stuck in traffic jams due to frequent breakdowns is not going to end anytime soon. The Delhi government deferred its plan to phase out old 340 standard-floor buses by December for a while as introducing new buses is turning out to be increasingly difficult for them.
Alarmed that the Capital is left with only 4,121 buses run by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) – the lowest in six years, the government has decided to allow these buses to operate for a while now. Of these, 340 of them are the green-yellow coloured standard-floor buses and their age varies from 14 to over 20 years.
“The proposal to scrap all 340 standard-floor buses by December end has been deferred for now. In a recent meeting, it was decided that these buses would be scrapped only in a phased manner and not at once,” a government official said.
Eighty buses will be scrapped in the first phase within a month’s time. “But, no further plans have been chalked out after that as it might lead to shortage of buses,” the official added.
Officials explained that taking all the old buses off roads at once would increase the load on the existing public transport which is not going to witness any augmentation at least for the next six months. Even the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) in its audit report criticised the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) for inefficiency in procuring buses and generating revenues.
“The fleet utilisation and vehicle productivity was less than all-India averages. Route planning was deficient. The number of routes not recovering the variable cost increased from 15.24% to 63.80 % during 2010-15. Scheduled kilometres of 14.14% to 21.29% were missed. Breakdowns increased from 1.77 to 5.35 per 10,000 kilometres of operation,” the CAG report had pointed out.
Even the government’s plan to introduce mini and midi buses had hit a roadblock as the finance department has asked the transport department to reconsider the proposal as it may burden the exchequer in the long run. Mini buses can carry up to 35 passengers at a time, while standard floor buses can carry up to 70.
As per Delhi government’s own estimates, the city at present needs at least 11,000 more buses. By 2020, this requirement is set to touch 20,000.