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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

After eight long years, Delhi gets its first batch of 25 buses

The buses are equipped with many new features which are a first for state-run buses in Delhi. These include doors equipped with hydraulic lifts to facilitate the differently-abled and senior citizens.

delhi Updated: Jul 25, 2019 11:58 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The buses, which are non-AC and come under the standard floor category, will be flagged off by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal next week.
The buses, which are non-AC and come under the standard floor category, will be flagged off by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal next week.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo )
         

After a wait of more than eight years, Delhi on Tuesday received the first 25 buses of a planned fleet of 4,000 that are being purchased to augment the city’s ailing public transport system.

In a first, the door of the newly arrived buses is equipped with hydraulic lifts to facilitate the differently-abled and senior citizens.

The buses, which are non-AC and come under the standard floor category, will be flagged off by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal next week.

A tour of these buses on Tuesday revealed that the buses are equipped with many new features which are a first for state-run buses in Delhi. Parked at the Rajghat depot, for now, each bus will also have a wheelchair which the conductor will offer to those in need.

While reversing the bus, the drivers of the bus can see what lies behind it as the vehicle is equipped with a rearview camera as well. Each bus comes with a touch-enabled screen fixed near the driver’s steering which displays a live feed of the rear view camera and cameras inside the buses. The buses are fitted with two cameras to ensure the safety of passengers.

The new buses have doors equipped with hydraulic lifts to facilitate the differently-abled and senior citizens.
The new buses have doors equipped with hydraulic lifts to facilitate the differently-abled and senior citizens. ( Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo )

So far, cluster and DTC buses have been involved in at least 27 fatal accidents this year. In 2018, the count was 15.

A driver, who was at the depot and did not wish to be named, said maneuvering a bus, especially reversing it, requires assistance of the conductor at present. “Sometimes it is also on intuition and of course, the mirrors help too. In these new buses, we will get to see the live feed of not just the rear view camera, but also of the cameras fixed inside,” he said.

Transport minister Kailash Gahlot said these 25 buses have marked the beginning of the Delhi government’s transport revival project. “It is a small but a significant start to our plan of bringing 4,000 new buses in the Capital which also include 1000 electric buses, a first in the country. Our target is to bring all the buses by May 2020 after which Delhi’s state-run bus fleet will increase to about 9,500,” he said.

An inside view of a new transit bus that includes  features like surveillance cameras, panic button and ramp for disabled persons
An inside view of a new transit bus that includes features like surveillance cameras, panic button and ramp for disabled persons ( Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo )

At present, Delhi has a fleet of 5,459 buses even it requires 11,000 buses. Buses were last added to the city’s fleet in 2011 under the cluster scheme. Before that buses were bought by Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) in 2008.

Apart from the cameras, each bus also has 14 panic buttons. “An alarm will ring for the driver to stop the bus as soon as a passenger presses the panic button in case of an emergency. The panic buttons are connected with our server and our operators who would monitor from the transport department’s common control centre would contact the conductor immediately. Based on the kind of emergency, the area police staff will be alerted,” said a manager of the buses on condition of anonymity.

There is a  a touch-enabled screen fixed near the driver’s steering which displays a live feed of the rearview camera and cameras inside the buses.
There is a a touch-enabled screen fixed near the driver’s steering which displays a live feed of the rearview camera and cameras inside the buses. ( Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo )

Also, the seating capacity of these buses is of 37 instead of the usual 41 seats. The number of seats was reduced to create additional space for wheelchair-bound passengers. The bus also has a facility to lock the wheelchair of a passenger to ensure comfort when brakes are applied.

While Delhi government officials said Kejriwal is likely to flag off these buses on July 30, currently, the 25 buses are undergoing final fitness and quality tests.