The Delhi government has drawn up a plan to boost public transport by buying buses, building depots and asking Delhi Metro and Northern Railways to augment their services and provide last-mile connectivity.
Prepared after a World Health Organisation report called Delhi the world’s most polluted city in May, the plan looks to reduce vehicular congestion and rising pollution by augmenting public transport.
A high-powered committee on pollution control formed by Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has admitted that the existing depots do not have parking space for the current fleet of buses, while “Delhi plans to buy 11,000 more buses to meet demands”.
The panel, headed by the Delhi chief secretary and has the transport commissioner as one of its members, has suggested building multi-level parking lots at existing depots.
“Delhi Transport Corporation will buy 5,500 buses. The Delhi Development Authority and the revenue department will provide land. We will get 5,500 buses to be run in clusters by corporate entities. They will have their parking space spread across the national capital region,” said a panel member. The government has hired Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System to supervise cluster bus operations.
The committee has asked Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to have eight coaches in all trains. Of the 208 trains running, 58 have eight coaches, the rest have six. By 2016, 130 trains will have eight coaches, it says.
The transport department has been told to formulate strategies for introduction of more non-polluting battery-operated vehicles to provide last-mile connectivity. “We’re also asking Northern Railway to revive its Ring Railway network and integrate it with Metro and other feeder services,” the official said.
The panel has asked the transport department to do a transport-need analysis, starting with Dwarka. “It should induct mini eco-friendly buses of 10-15 seats on purchase-hiring basis to ferry passengers from Metro stations.”Jung has accepted the report and asked officials to work in a mission mode.
While forming the committee Jung had said, “We cannot allow pollution to grow unchecked. It is our moral responsibility to provide a healthy environment to our citizens.”
This is, however, not the first time that such plans are being made. The government and Centre for Science and Environment sometime back made a five-year plan to improve Delhi’s air quality which is yet to be implemented. That action plan called for augmentation of the Capital’s bus fleet to 15,000 from the current 6,200 by 2014 and creation of 17 bus clusters and 4 Bus Rapid Transit corridors by 2016.