The Metro authorities have completed the process of selecting the company to be tasked with buying, operating and maintaining in three clusters a fleet of 300 midibuses connecting several commuter stations with residential colonies in various parts of Delhi.
The move by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) comes after a parliamentary panel on urban development in April asked it to ensure that new feeder buses begin plying on city roads in six months. The DMRC, which had failed at least twice in the past two years to introduce new feeder buses citing “technical reasons”, looks set to deliver the goods within the deadline.
“The contract has been awarded to Rajdhani Bus Cluster Service of Delhi. Operations of new feeder services will start in November, subject to clearance by the transport department,” said a DMRC spokesperson. “All the buses will be made operational in a year,” the spokesperson said.
A fleet of 300 feeder buses will operate on 72 routes approved by the transport authority. The buses will ply from 46 Metro stations and cover 60 stations in all.
Currently, the DMRC has 120 mini feeder buses. Overcrowding in the buses is a frequent problem. The new buses are said to be more spacious and each can accommodate 28-32 passengers.
As per the contract, the DMRC will pay Rs. 8 lakh per bus as a grant to the operator, while the operator will pay fixed and variable amount per bus each month for nine years.