Delhi govt plans to introduce app-based bus service, trial runs likely in 2-3 months

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Published on Sep 16, 2020 11:30 PM IST
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By, New Delhi

With Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses and cluster (orange) buses currently running at half capacity owing to Covid-19 restrictions, and in view of the widening demand and supply gap in public transport, the Delhi government is planning to implement a plan, pending for the past four years -- an app-based air-conditioned bus service.

Transport minister Kailash Gahlot is likely to hold a meeting in this regard on Thursday. “The trial service may start within the next two or three months,” a senior transport official, privy to the matter, said on condition of anonymity.

The project was under active consideration in the months of November and December last year, but it took a back seat owing to the Delhi Assembly elections, the north-east Delhi riots and then the Covid-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown.

Under the scheme, the service will be similar to how app-based cab services such as Ola and Uber function. The tickets or bookings for these buses will be available only on the phone app or website.

As per the draft prepared by the transport department, these buses will be under the premium segment and will have features such as Wi-Fi connectivity, entertainment systems, reclining seats, premium upholstery, GPS, CCTV cameras and panic buttons.

This is not the first time that the government has talked about the scheme. The Delhi government had first given its nod for a premium bus service in May 2016. However, the proposal was struck down by then lieutenant-governor Najeeb Jung over the government not taking his approval first. In 2017 and 2018, the government again worked on the plan but it fizzled out because of permit issues.

To ensure passengers are not overcharged, the state transport authority will fix the maximum and minimum fares. “Operators will have to fix the rates based on the distance travelled and payment will be accepted only through digital modes. The buses will be divided into clusters and each cluster will have at least 100 buses pressed into service during peak hours,” the draft scheme read.

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