Blueline buses are all set to make a comeback, but in a mini avatar. The transport department has worked out a policy to rehabilitate the nearly 1,500 Blueline operators. They had surrendered their permits a few years ago when the government had announced its plan to phase out blueline buses.
The transport department has chalked out 97 new routes on which 1,532 new mini-buses will be allowed to run, sources said. These routes are different from the 657 routes on which the DTC and the private cluster buses operate.
Sources said the department has also decided that these new buses won’t enter the New Delhi and central Delhi areas and will have to keep to the boundaries fixed by the transport department. Only low-floor and standard floor modern buses will cater to the prime areas of Lutyen’s Delhi and south Delhi.
“In east and northeast Delhi, these buses will not be allowed to cross the Yamuna. In south, west and north Delhi, the buses won’t operate beyond the Outer Ring Road,” said a transport department official.
This is first time in 10 years that the transport department has identified new bus routes. The last time it had chalked out new routes was in 2002 when permits were given to mini-buses to operate on 152 new routes.
“This time we have tried to connect areas which developed in the past 10 years such as Dwarka, Rohini, Jasola, Vasant Kunj, Narela and unauthorised colonies in outer Delhi and south Delhi. We have also finalised certain routes that will connect east with northeast Delhi,” a senior transport department official said.
It was only after the Blueline operators moved high court and the court asked the transport department to frame a new policy for them that this step was taken.
According to the proposal, the Blueline operators will have to buy new mini-buses with a seating capacity between 24 and 32 seats. Each operator will get a single permit irrespective of the number of Blueline buses he used to operate earlier. Officials said the operators will have to buy buses according to specifications and they won’t be allowed to make any changes in the body of the bus.'