Gurgaon has 25 lakh residents. What facilities has your department provided them to commute within the city?
We have introduced 20 (actually 18) semi-low floor buses, and will add another 20 before the end of this year. If the response to them is good, we might add more buses next year. Private operators already ply around 100 buses in the city. We also have buses going to Delhi. These, too, serve as local transport for those who want to disembark on the way to Delhi.
Nonetheless, commuting within Gurgaon is very difficult and residents are compelled to risk their lives by hitcing rides in BPO cabs …
Unfortunately, most private operators ply their buses only on long and high-density routes that are profitable. For instance, the Manesar and Udyog Vihar routes used by the industrial workforce. On our part, we cannot introduce 100 semi-low floor buses at a go, as their occupancy is good only during the rush hours.
Why weren't the semi-low floor buses introduced sooner?
Gurgaon's population has ballooned only in the last 7-8 years due to a floating workforce. And we have redrawn our plans accordingly to cater to this increase.
Even now, the connectivity to Delhi is poor because of limited routes and shortage of CNG buses. Why cannot you purchase more CNG buses?
Gurgaon still does not have a CNG supply. As for our limited routes, we have to bear the off-peak hour occupancy in mind. The routes are viable only during the morning and evening rush hours.
What are your short- and long-term plans for Gurgaon and other NCR towns in Haryana?
By the end of this year, we plan to add 20 more semi-low floor buses -- not low-floor ones, as the roads in Gurgaon are bad. In all, 200 CNG buses would be procured by March 2009 for routes between Delhi and Gurgaon, Faridabad, Bahadurgarh and Sonepat. We also plan to purchase 1,100 CNG buses for the entire state by 2012 and 300 of these would ply exclusively between Delhi and Gurgaon.