26 new routes on trial to widen Delhi’s bus network
The trial run brought cheer to many, including residents of in Bawana JJ Colony, home to thousands of poor on the northern outskirts of the national capital.
The Delhi government on Sunday initiated the trial run of 26 new bus routes that were drawn up under a route rationalisation plan to provide better connectivity to major crowd centres, including poorly served areas. For the first time, the new routes included direct buses from places such as Bawana JJ Colony to New Delhi railway station (earlier buses were available but there was no direct connectivity); from Dwarka Sector 10 New Delhi railway station; and between Qutab Garh (northwest district) and Azadpur known for Asia’s largest wholesale vegetables and fruits market.
The trial run brought cheer to many, including residents of in Bawana JJ Colony, home to thousands of poor on the northern outskirts of the national capital. “I am happy that a bus is available from our neighbourhood to New Delhi railway station. Earlier, we had to take multiple buses to reach the station. This will make our journey easier,” said Mohammad Imran, 35, a migrant labourer who works in Bawana industrial area.
Anil Chaudhary, the driver of the bus, said the footfall on Sunday was very low. “The bus crosses Bawana industrial area, Rohini Sector 18, ISBT Kashmere Gate, Chandni Chowk, Red Fort, etc. Since it was a Sunday and a festival, very few people have taken the bus since morning,” said Chaudhary.
Rohini Sector 34 resident Saurabh, 19, who runs a roadside stall, said he saw a bus cross the area in the morning, and the next bus only passed by late afternoon. “The frequency of buses on this route is low,” said Saurabh.
A transport department official said that bus route rationalisation was decided on the basis of major data studies on the load of passengers on different routes on different days, as well as several other factors. “The route rationalisation is based on the idea of providing universal accessibility, multi-modal integration with Metro stations and also connecting more areas with the network,” said the official.
Paras, a resident of Qutab Garh who took a bus to Azadpur was happy. “I run a shop in Azadpur and I have to go there every day. The new route will help me reach work quicker,” said Paras.
Ganesh Kumar, depot manager of Dwarka Sector 22, said that there was no direct bus connectivity between Dwarka Sector 10 to NDLS earlier. “Direct connectivity has now started due to the passenger load on this route. However, there were few passengers today (Sunday) because it was a holiday,” said Kumar.
Currently, 7,300 buses operate on 625 routes in the Capital ferrying, on an average, around 4.2 million passengers every day—much higher than that of the Delhi Metro, at around 2.7 million passengers per day. Many of the current bus routes overlap, resulting in some routes being overfed while others remain underserved.
Delhi government has planned to divide bus routes into six categories—central business district (CBD) circulators that will provide connectivity between major market places of the city, with buses operating at a frequency of 5-10 minutes; trunk routes, which will carry passengers from major hubs (sub-CBDs) to CBDs at a frequency of 5-10 minutes; primary routes, that will provide transportation from residential areas to sub-CBDs and will have buses at an interval of 10-20 minutes; airport service routes, which will connect sub-CBDs to the airport at an interval of 10 minutes; last-mile feeder bus routes, which will link residential areas and villages to trunk or primary routes, including Metro stations, with a frequency of 7-15 minutes; and NCR routes, for those commuting from NCR cities to Delhi, with a frequency of 20 minutes.
On Sunday, trial runs started under four categories—CBD circulators, super trunk routes, primary routes and airport service routes.
“All major markets of the city that report a huge footfall have been connected under the CBD circulators, besides bus routes to many Metro stations. The CBD-3 route starts from Nehru Place terminal and covers Greater Kailash, Chirag Delhi, Saket district court, Malviya Nagar, Hauz Khas, RK Puram, Vasant Vihar, Moti Bagh, Sarojini Nagar, AIIMS, South Ext, Moolchand, Kailash Colony and back to Nehru Place. It is a circulator and buses will be available at 5-10 minutes frequency,” said a transport department official.
The Delhi government recently formed a four-member committee to oversee bus routes rationalisation to make sure that bus routes are evenly spread across the Capital as per passenger load. The committee will guide the phased induction of buses in the new routes, assessment of accuracy and suggest course correction.