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Delhi Metro’s plan for 427 feeder buses stuck over ‘cost issues’

DMRC proposes to get 229 electric, 198 CNG air-conditioned buses to improve last-mile connectivity at Metro stations across the Capital.

delhi Updated: Sep 01, 2018 00:14 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi Metro,DMRC,Feeder bus service
With an average frequency of around five minutes, the proposed feeder buses were supposed to have inbuilt GPS and CCTV cameras.(HT File Photo)

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) proposal to induct 427 air-conditioned feeder buses to improve lastmile connectivity across the city’s Metro stations has been sent back to the drawing board over “cost issues”, officials said.

The plan, which, in a first, included getting 229 electric buses apart from 198 CNG vehicles, was sent for revision by the State Transport Authority (STA) in its board meeting on Tuesday. The financial feasibility of these buses will now be studied by a special committee constituted by the STA.

Madan Lal, Aam Aadmi Party’s Kasturba Nagar MLA and a STA member said, “The STA found that the medium-sized (midi) buses selected by the DMRC to feed distances of 5-8 km around Metro stations would turn out to be even more expensive than the cluster/orange buses that are already operating. Since Delhi government has to bear the viability gap, the proposal is being studied again.”

Documents accessed by Hindustan Times show that the DMRC sought financial assistance of ₹25.75 lakh per proposed bus every year from the Delhi government.

The government is already giving smaller assistance of ₹20 lakh per year per bus for the cluster buses being run by the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS).

While the midi feeder buses proposed by DMRC have a seating capacity of 16-22, the cluster buses, despite costing the government less, have a seating capacity of 55 passengers.

Having an average frequency of around five minutes, the proposed feeder buses were supposed to have inbuilt GPS and CCTV cameras. Like the existing buses, these too were to have smart card fare deduction systems.

According to the DMRC, the viability gap — cost incurred in running the feeder bus service after deducting the revenue earned — needs to be funded by the Delhi government as last-mile connectivity is “not technically” the responsibly of DMRC.

Against the need for at least 1,000 feeder buses, Delhi currently has only 291 such buses.

“Fares of feeder buses have remained the same since 2009 — a key reason for the service turning out to be a loss making venture,” Metro official said on condition of anonymity.

At present, DMRC charges ₹5 for 4km, ₹10 for travelling from 4km to 10km, and ₹15 for journeys over 10km on feeder buses. These fares were decided by the STA.

Last year, DMRC had sought rights for deciding fares of the feeder buses, but the proposal was not accepted by the transport department.

Data with Delhi Metro suggests that feeder buses are in demand an estimated two lakh passengers use the service every day.

First Published: Aug 31, 2018 02:11 IST