Metro will get 50 e-buses for feeder service by April
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will get its first batch of 50 electric buses (e-buses) for the feeder service by April this year.
The feeder service, which is crucial for last-mile connectivity, has been shut since last March, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, and DMRC is planning to restart the service soon.
Anuj Dayal, executive director, corporate communications, DMRC, said, “DMRC is in the process of procuring 100 e-buses to further strengthen its feeder bus services. About 50 are expected to arrive by March or April and the remaining will arrive within the year.”
The air-conditioned e-buses will have a carrying capacity of 22 passengers and will be fitted with CCTV cameras, GPS tracking system and display boards , Dayal said.
The e-buses will run on new routes in north and east Delhi. “The e-buses will operate on 10 designated routes--five in each cluster. Two agencies have already been finalised for the running of e-buses,” he said.
DMRC currently has 174 feeder buses, which are operated by private concessionaires, on around 20 routes to provide last-mile connectivity in areas such as Dwarka, Azadpur, Badarpur.
With the induction of 100 new buses, DMRC will have 274 feeder buses plying on around 30 routes. The DMRC is also in the process of resuming the feeder bus service by addressing the concerns of feeder service operators.
The operators say their income has dropped after the Delhi government announced free rides to women on Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses last year -- women are now giving the feeder service a miss, they claimed. Therefore, while the Metro resumed operations on September 7, 2020, after the gradual easing of the nationwide lockdown, feeder service is yet to be restarted.
The operators have now asked the DMRC to provide financial assistance to offset their losses. Prasanna Patwardhan, owner of Prasanna Purple mobility solutions, a feeder operator, said, “It is not financially viable for us to provide services. Due to free travel for women on DTC buses, our income has reduced by almost 50%, as women passengers prefer DTC buses over feeder buses. In the present scenario, it is not viable to run our services. We have asked DMRC to provide financial aid to help minimise losses.”
Metro users want the DMRC to resume feeder services, especially in areas such as Dwarka and Vasant Kunj where there is a lack of adequate public transport options.
Amit Aggarwal, a resident of Vasant Kunj and member of URJA (an association of RWAs in Delhi), said, “Feeder buses are an important mode of transport for Metro users. In our area, a lot of people use it to reach Metro stations and we need an affordable mode of public transport.”