The death of a 16-year-old under the wheels of a DTC bus near Okhla on Friday morning has once again exposed the way the state-run buses transport corporation is being maintained and run.
According to highly placed sources, a majority of these old DTC buses are more than eight years old, the maximum age prescribed by the association of state road transport undertakings for buses being run by state-run transport corporations.
Of the fleet of 2,500-old DTC buses that run on city routes, 1,300 buses are more than 10 years old, 900 buses are between eight to 10 years and just about 300 buses are less than eight years old. Sources said these buses should have been removed from service. Since scrapping of the buses would create a shortage, the DTC is still using them.
“Under the city conditions, the brakes and clutches of these buses are extensively used. While the Motor Vehicle Act clearly states that a commercial vehicle can be used for 15 years, the ASRTU decided to allow the buses less than eight years not to run on city routes,” said SP Singh, senior fellow, Indian Foundation of Transport research and Training
Singh, however, added that accidents happen due a number of reasons, including traffic management on that stretch.
While the low-floor buses are being maintained by the two manufacturers of the buses and the DTC levy penalty on the manufacturers in case of shoddy maintenance, the fleet of old DTC buses is still being maintained by the DTC’s own mechanical staff.
“More than 1,000 old buses remain grounded due to breakdown on any given day. Of the remaining 1200-odd buses, the majority are run only during the first shift and have to be brought back to the depot for maintenance in the evening,” a DTC official said.
The DTC, currently, has a fleet of 6,229 buses, which includes 3,775 low-floor buses. “We need 11,000 buses in Delhi, including 4,400 DTC buses,” said a senior DTC official.