The Delhi government on Monday approved the formation of four cluster bus services, under which private and corporate entities will be able to run nearly 700 public buses on specific routes.
The Delhi cabinet decided to award the contract to four private entities -- each of which will run the bus service in separate areas allocated to them - as part of the efforts to improve the public transport system, replacing the erstwhile Blueline buses.
The buses have strict quality standards with GPS (global positioning system) facility installed in them for better punctuality and all-round service, an official statement said.
"The service will start in six months. Clusters two, three, four and five will be auctioned," Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.
Cluster one, comprising routes in South Delhi, was formed a few months ago. The transport department last year had divided nearly 650 bus routes across the city into 17 clusters, each comprising profitable and non-profitable routes and decided to give each cluster to a private operator.
On Monday, the government awarded the first cluster to Star Bus Services Pvt Ltd which is likely to start their service with 232 buses later this month along the BRT corridor in South Delhi.
"Within next six months, we will have a total of 914 buses in these five clusters. We will start the tender process for remaining clusters soon," Delhi transport minister Arvinder Singh said.
The decision to approve the cluster bus services in South, South East and South West Delhi areas comes just a week after the government set a December 14 deadline for removing all the Blueline buses from the city roads.
Modelled on the lines of bus services in London and Paris, the operators will have to follow very strict quality standards prescribed by the government to run the service.
As per Delhi Integrated Multimodal Transit System’s (DIMTS) finalised plan, the transport department will finalise the bus fares, which will go to the government while the private operator will be paid a fixed amount on the basis of every kilometre travelled.