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New deadline for all Bluelines

delhi Updated: Dec 14, 2010 18:50 IST

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The privately owned Blueline fleet, which gained notoriety for frequent accidents, is not going off the city roads from on Wednesday as announced by Delhi Government in October.

Transport minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said that January 31 has been set as the last day for plying of the Blueline buses in the city and in no circumstances the deadline would be extended further.

Lovely said that 823 buses will go off the roads from Wednesday out of total 2,052 such vehicles currently plying in over 600 city routes as the period of their permit comes to an end on Tuesday.

"We have decided not to approach the court for extension of permits for 823 Bluelines. The permits for these vehicles expired today," Lovely told reporters.

Lovely said that another 389 buses will be removed by December 31 as their permits will also be expired by then.

"January 31 would be the last day for Blueline buses in the city. We are not going to extend the deadline. The DTC has made all preparations to extend its operation so that commuters do not face any hardships," Lovely said.

Lovely had on October 25 at a press conference announced that December 14 would be the last day for Bluelines in the national capital.

However, on Tuesday Lovely claimed that he did not announce complete phase-out of the fleet but only stated that their permit would not be renewed.

He said that Government-run Delhi Transport Corporation now has 6,500 buses including nearly 4,000 low-floor buses and the fleet will be able to meet the transport requirement of the city.

Asked what steps government were taking to ensure that commuters do not face any difficulties, Lovely said DTC has been told to expand its operation and prepare a proper operation plan for areas where Bluelines are being removed.

"Moreover, now we have an extended Metro network. We will also increase the services of RTVs (mini-buses). Buses under cluster service will also start coming from January. So commuters will not face any hardship," he said.

The government had in 2009 announced an ambitious cluster bus service scheme under which corporate entities were proposed to be given certain routes in the city on the pattern of cities like Paris and London.

Already five clusters have been allocated to private entities and the first such service will begin its operation by January in South Delhi.

"We are expecting around 800 buses under the five clusters by middle of next year," said transport commissioner R K Verma.