After years of dilly-dallying, Delhi Government today finally decided to completely phase out 2,400 privately-owned blueline buses, which gained notoriety for frequent accidents, by December 14.
Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely, after a marathon meeting with top officials of his department, said the 1,600 blueline buses, which were shunted out from south and central Delhi as well as from areas near Commonwealth Games venues last month, will not be allowed to operate again. Earlier, there were around 2,400 blueline buses operating in the capital and now only 800 of them will ply in the capital till December 14.
"December 14 will be the last day for blueline buses in Delhi. We cannot leave people of Delhi at the mercy of blueline buses," Lovely said. Around 8,000 people were dependent on these privately-owned buses for their livelihood.
Lovely said 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 transport requirement of the city.
"More over, we will get 200 more low floor buses in two-three weeks' time. Apart from that we are expecting 4,000 buses in the cluster bus service," he added.
Out of the 1,600 buses, nearly 835 buses were allowed to ply in non-NDMC areas from last Saturday and Lovely said a notification would be issued within two-three days for their removal also.
The government had set many a deadline in the last few years to phase out the blueline buses and replace them with swanky low-floor buses ahead of the Commonwealth Games but failed.
"We allowed them to ply from Saturday and on the very first day, a person was killed by a Blueline. We cannot allow it to continue. I will do everything possible to ensure safety of people on the roads," Lovely said.
"Government will issue a notification later this week in this regard. These 835 buses which have got permit will be taken off the roads by this weekend," Lovely said.
A 21-year-old motorcyclist was killed after allegedly being hit by a blueline bus near Ashram on Saturday. The government had last year 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.