Travel by bus is all set to get cheaper as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi is offering discount of up to 75% in order to encourage more people use public transport and leave their personal vehicles at home.
For the whole of January, there will be a flat fare of Rs 5 in non-AC DTC and cluster buses and Rs 10 for air-conditioned buses.
Right now, a ride in a non-AC bus can cost anywhere between Rs 5 and Rs 15. The AC buses charge fares between Rs 10 and Rs 25.
The government has decided to give free travel passes to students (below the age of 21), widows and senior citizens.
It is also offering a permanent discount of 75% on travel passes to women and those belonging to the economically weaker section.
They can get a monthly pass for Rs 250, which currently costs Rs 800 for non-AC buses and Rs 1,000 for AC buses.
“Our aim is to reduce the number of vehicles on road, which will reduce pollution. Buses are anyway running empty and by lowering the fare, we are expecting more people to use the bus service. We are targeting youngsters and if they leave their bikes home and take the bus, then pollution will be reduced to a certain extent,” said a senior transport department official.
As per the data, 21.80% Delhi commuters travel by bus but share of buses among all registered vehicles in Delhi has gone down from 1.52% in 1980-81 to 0.36% in 2014-15. However, during the same period, the share of private vehicles (two and four wheelers) increased from 86.61 % in 1980-81 to 95.95% in 2014-15.
Cars and two-wheelers eat up more than 75% of the road space but meet only 20% of the commuting demand and buses use less than 5% of the road space but meet more than 60% of the travel demand.
Sources said Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and transport minister Satyendar Jain held a meeting on Tuesday and asked the department to implement the scheme at the earliest.
“The notification for flat fare scheme will be out in 2-3 days and initially, the scheme period would be from January 1 to 31. The scheme to give discount on the pass will be announced soon. Free passes will be issued for a year and can be renewed after that,” the official said.
Sources said that Jain was facing resistance from the department on the issue, but Sisodia has now directed the department to implement it without any delay. Of the 4352 buses, DTC has 569 standard, 2,506 green low-floor and 1,275 AC low floor buses. Besides this, there are 1100 cluster buses in the city. The standard buses are overaged and will be taken off road by the end of 2016.
DTC carried 43.47 lakh passengers per day in 2013-14, which reduced to 38.87 lakh per day in 2014-15 and it reduced to 35 lakh in 2015-16.