If you thought public transport would take care of your transportation needs during the Games, you are mistaken.
Almost half of Delhi's buses will not be available to ordinary commuters during the Games. While the majority of the Blueline fleet will remain off road, one third of Delhi Transport Corporation's (DTC) buses will be busy on Commonwealth Games duty.
According to senior transport officials, Delhi is likely to have a little less than 9,000 buses — DTC and Blueline combined — before the Commonwealth Games kicks off in October this year.
However, almost 75 per cent of the Blueline buses, that connect south and central Delhi with the rest of the city, will remain off-road for almost 25 days.
"A decision was taken in this regard at a meeting of the transport minister, senior transport officials and Blueline operators. These buses will stop plying from the last week of September and would remain off road till October 16," a senior transport official said.
Initially, the government had decided to replace Blueline buses that run in south and Central Delhi with DTC buses.
Sources said the government later found this replacement plan difficult to implement and finally asked Blueline operators to take their buses off road for the duration of the Games.
An estimate says 1,824 Blueline buses, plying on 281 routes, would be taken off service. The government, however, is hopeful that DTC's own fleet will easily address the transportation need of Delhi.
But numbers speak otherwise. Of the 6,500-odd buses that DTC is likely to have in its fleet by the Games, 1,400 will cater to athletes, delegates and security personnel.
Another 1,200 buses will ply on special routes. Senior DTC officials said they would also keep about 10 per cent buses on stand-by for the convenience of athletes, delegates and volunteers. Effectively, only 3,500 DTC buses and 500 Blueline buses would run on 360-odd routes during the Games.
Delhi transport minister Arvinder Singh Lovely, however, said, "DTC never had so many buses in its fleet. The convenience of Delhi's public is our top priority."