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35% dip in DTC ridership over 4 years, new buses needed urgently in Delhi: Study

Centre for Science and Environment report says DTC’s fleet utilisation down to 83.63% in 2015-16, around 99% of transport body’s fleet to be phased out by 2025.

delhi Updated: Dec 13, 2017 10:57 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times
Delhi transport,DTC,Delhi buses
The report, that gauged the state of bus service in Delhi, also found that as many as 700 buses remain unused daily, largely because of breakdowns.(HT FILE)

Buses run by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) have seen a 35% dip in ridership in a span of over four years, a report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has revealed.

The report, that gauged the state of bus service in Delhi, also found that as many as 700 buses remain unused daily, largely because of breakdowns. In cities like Jaipur, the grounding of 700 buses would mean halting the city’s entire bus fleet.

The report also stated that the DTC bought new buses way back in 2011-12, and that if procurement is not expedited then the corporation would be left with almost no buses by 2025.

Hindustan Times, on July 19, had reported how based on the current trend, DTC could become history by 2025 as 99% of its buses would be phased out.

The study found “very discouraging statistics” on the frequency of buses. “There is a shockingly low percentage of routes on which average headway of buses during peak hours is less than five minutes, regardless of the definition of peak hours. Further, only between 8:30am and 10am, around 25% of routes in case of DTC and 41% in case of cluster buses have a service headway of less than 15 minutes, which implies longer waiting time for buses,” the report stated.

Service headway is the time interval between different buses starting from the depot, which determines the frequency of buses.

Further, in the absence of any passenger information system, such high headway times bring in a high degree of unreliability to the system from a user’s perspective.

The data collected from state government-run corporation revealed that the daily average ridership of DTC went down from 47 lakh in 2012-13 to 30 lakh by the end of 2016.

The report claimed that even the ridership figure of 30 lakh was an “overestimation”.

“As per the latest available DTC statistics, about 30 lakh passengers are carried daily, of which only 14 lakh (45 per cent) are ticketed passengers. The rest 16 lakh (55 per cent) use passes,” it stated.

The NGO further observed that it is “officially assumed” that each pass holder makes an “absurdly high” nine trips per day.

“Thus, a pass holder is counted as travelling nine times during the course of a single day and that inflates the daily trip number. It is possible, therefore, that the DTC’s daily ridership is expected to be much less than the currently stated 30 lakh figure,” the report read.

Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director of CSE said that the Delhi government needs to speed up the process of procuring 1,000 buses each for the DTC and cluster bus scheme. The city has only 5,425 buses against the need of 15,000 as stated in Master Plan Delhi, 2021.

“Bus procurement needs to be undertaken on a war footing to meet the target of 10,000-11,000 buses. A fiscal strategy needs to be developed for the DTC, aiming at reduction of costs, augmentation of fare and non-fare revenue and phasing of interest payments,” she said.

The report also found fault with fleet utilisation by the DTC. “DTC’s fleet utilisation has also been going down over the past few years, having come down to 83.63% in 2015-16, from 85.51% in 2013-14,” the report read.

This is significantly lower compared to other cities such as Bengaluru (91%) and Hyderabad (99%).

For a city with an already depleted fleet size, low fleet utilisation makes matters worse in terms of service provision ability of the operator.

First Published: Dec 13, 2017 10:57 IST