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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Delhi government to build bus shelters, maintain them on its own

Transport minister Kailash Gahlot said Friday that previous tenders failed because the onus of maintaining these shelters was on the concessionaires who were tasked with building them.

delhi Updated: Mar 30, 2019 11:53 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A study by the transport department suggests the city needs at least 1,400 new bus stands and the highest demand for this facility lies in outer Delhi areas.
A study by the transport department suggests the city needs at least 1,400 new bus stands and the highest demand for this facility lies in outer Delhi areas.(Ajay Aggarwal/HT PHOTO)
         

After five failed attempts at building bus queue shelters in Delhi, the city administration has now decided that it will maintain all the shelters on its own.

Transport minister Kailash Gahlot said Friday that previous tenders failed because the onus of maintaining these shelters was on the concessionaires who were tasked with building them. “We are not going to wait for private participation anymore. After the Lok Sabha elections are over, the government will float a fresh tender. But this time, the difference will be that the Delhi government will maintain these shelters at its own cost,” he said.

Gahlot said the government has already made a budgetary provision of about Rs 150 crore for bus queue shelters. The state transport department has floated five tenders till date to get 1,397 new bus stands across the city, but has failed every time, with no bidder having shown interest. Two of these tenders were floated under the AAP government.

An official in the state transport department said under the public-private partnership (PPP) model, the concessionaire builds bus shelters, maintains it and enjoys right to collect revenue from advertisements on the shelters. “In return, it needs to pay a prescribed concession fee to the Delhi Transport Corporation per advertisement. But the problem is that concessionaires only want to build shelters at prime locations where they can cash in good ad revenue. As a result, less crowded, outer or rural areas get left out,” the official said.

A study by the transport department suggests the city needs at least 1,400 new bus stands and the highest demand for this facility lies in outer Delhi areas. Bus stands were last developed ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2010 by the then Sheila Dikshit-led government. A total of 1,594 shelters were developed at the time. As of now, 1,397 bus queue are either dilapidated or completely in shambles.

In 2015, the AAP government had announced it would build 1,200 modern stainless steel bus shelters across the city, but no attempt was successful.

‘Achieved 90% accuracy on Najafgarh bus pilot project’

Speaking at a conference, Connect Karo, organised by World Resources Institute (WRI), Gahlot said the pilot plan of the government’s Connect Delhi project is gradually picking up. “So far, we have seen 90% accuracy in maintaining the frequency of buses at Najafgarh. We’ll get to perfection soon. Our priority right now is to connect rural and outer Delhi areas,” he said.

He said even now, there are areas in Delhi which get only one bus a day. “Our target is to make at least three buses reach these areas on a daily basis,” he said.

Outer Delhi’s Najafgarh is the first where a route-rationalised plan of buses has been implemented, with 306 buses operating on 17 newly designed routes. The area has 10 towns and 41 villages that were earlier served by only over 36 bus service routes.

The 17 new routes are divided into three categories. “There are three “trunk routes” (main routes) where buses will be available at a frequency as high as 5-10 minutes. Eight primary routes, where bus frequency will be 10-20 minutes, and six feeder routes with an interval of 20-45 minutes,” a transport official said.

First Published: Mar 30, 2019 11:53 IST