Delhi government to roll out disabled-friendly buses with three doors from March-end
In a first, the Delhi government will introduce a new kind of disabled-friendly bus that will have three doors for passengers instead of the usual two.
These state-run public transport vehicles will be among the first 25 buses from a lot of 1,000 that will be rolled out on city roads from March-end. The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) had last added buses to the city fleet in 2011 under the cluster scheme and before that in 2008.
These will be the first lot of 4,000 new buses being planned for the city. Delhi presently has a fleet of 5,443 buses against a requirement of 11,000. Of these, only 3,750 are disabled-friendly low-floor CNG buses.
On Monday, the Delhi government finalised two prototypes of disabled-friendly standard-floor buses to be introduced in the cluster model.
“The new variant of buses will have three doors – one in the front, one in the middle and another in the rear. The other type of buses that we approved today was the normal cluster bus with hydraulic lifts fitted for easy access to wheelchair-bound passengers,” transport minister Kailash Gahlot said after a meeting.
The minister said this is for the first time standard floor buses are being made disabled-friendly. The 1,000 buses will be rolled out by October this year.
Unlike low-floor buses that provide easy access to wheelchair-bound passengers and elderly citizens, the standard-floor buses have a higher ground clearance, making it inaccessible for the disabled.
It is because of this reason that the government’s two-year old plan to procure 1,000 standard-floor buses got stuck — the court had stayed the move citing the need to make buses accessible to all categories of commuters.
The minister and teams from the state transport department tested the new buses. “During the test of the standard-floor buses fitted with hydraulic lifts, it took about one minute for the lift to come out of the door and put a wheelchair-bound passenger into the bus. These buses will have additional space for the differently abled to park their wheelchairs,” an official, on condition of anonymity, said.
Each hydraulic lift can take a weight of up to 300 kilograms and all buses will come fitted with GPS trackers, CCTV cameras and panic buttons, officials said.