More orange-coloured private buses are soon going to enter the city. The transport department on Thursday will sign a contract with private companies to run a fixed number of buses on various routes under cluster numbers 6 to 9.
While cluster 6 will have buses on routes connecting south and central Delhi, cluster 7 will have buses on routes connecting east and west. Cluster 8 will have buses on routes connecting west and south and cluster 9 will have buses running on specified routes connecting north Delhi and Outer Delhi.
"These four clusters will have 1,294 buses on about 130 routes. The companies will be free to bring air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned standard floor buses according to their own choice," a transport department official said.
The companies will have to start introducing buses within six months of signing the contract and the entire fleet within one year. There are currently about 600 cluster buses running on 30-odd routes under the brand name of Delhi Transit.
While private companies run and maintain these buses, the revenue earned by these buses goes to the transport department. The department, however, pays a fixed amount to these companies every day on a kilometre basis.
The transport department has hired Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal transit System (DIMTS) as the consulting company, which also drafted the corporatisation of private bus operation scheme, to supervise cluster bus operations on behalf of the Delhi government.
Delhi's 657 bus routes have been divided into 17 clusters. More than 4,400 buses will run in these 17 clusters combined.