As DTC struggles with GPS in its buses, cluster buses seem to have got it right
While GPS’ have been working fine in cluster buses for over six years now, the same system was introduced in a staggered way in DTC buses by DIMTS.delhi Updated: Sep 14, 2017 00:13 IST
While majority of Delhi’s DTC buses have failed to keep up with their GPS (global positioning system) tracking system, cluster buses seem to have got it right.
Out of Delhi’s total fleet of 5,585 buses, 1,641 cluster or orange buses are the only GPS-enabled buses running on city roads. Like the Delhi Metro, these buses too are monitored round the clock from a centralised control room located at the inter-state bus terminal in Kashmere Gate.
“We get real-time data for every cluster bus that is on the road. To identify erring drivers, we go by the ‘exception method’. This means, an alarm is raised whenever a bus over-speeds, deviates from the normal route, is static or is taking longer to complete a trip and so on,” said M Rajsekhar, CEO and MD of Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal System (DIMTS), that runs the bus service.
Apart from ensuring the safety of passengers, the vehicle tracking system also helps the company save at least Rs4 crore every month out of its total expenditure of Rs44 crore on the buses. “Cluster buses are run by different concessionaires and our contract clause includes penalties for a long list of violation including over-speeding or detours. With the GPS tracker, these penalties or deductions in the total bill are levied with proof, leaving no room for excuses for the concessionaires,” said an official overseeing the project.
While GPS’ have been working fine in cluster buses for over six years now, the same system was introduced in a staggered way in DTC buses by DIMTS. But, the project failed and the Delhi government is now going to terminate the contract with DIMTS. The entire project cost the government around ₹35 crore for which it plans to seek a refund from DIMTS, as reported by Hindustan Times on September 7.
When asked why the system failed in DTC buses, Rajsekhar said, “The system was not integrated well by the DTC despite imparting training sessions to its staff. In the depots, there were no fleet managers to ensure security of the devices while buses enter and leave the depot.”
Apart from this, the DTC survey, conducted jointly with DIMTS in June 2013, revealed that around 500 of the installed devices had been stolen from its buses and around 950 of these devices or its accessories had been damaged. This thereby left the Automatic Vehicle Location System (AVLS) non-functional on around 40% of the DTC fleet covered under the project.
An internal report of the government on the GPS in buses termed the AVLS “non workable”, “inefficient” and “unreliable.” “DIMTS failed to perform its responsibility as single point of source for implementation of the AVLS project of transport department. The technicians deployed by DIMTS were untrained, inadequate and inefficient,” the document read.
Besides, the devices are installed and maintained by concessionaires who haven’t been paid by the DTC since 2013, an official added.
The DTC, however, maintained that it is going to start the entire process of installing the GPS devices again and will float fress tenders for installing GPS in its existing buses. “The new buses that are set to come will have inbuilt GPS tracking system anyway,” a DTC official said.