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Delhi’s transport body can’t track its 4,000 buses as GPS devices are out of order

More than seven years after Delhi’s low-floor buses were enabled with GPS, most devices have become dysfunctional. Delhi government is now going to end the contract with DIMTS after which DTC will start the process of installing new devices

delhi Updated: Sep 07, 2017 10:49 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
DTC,delhi transport corporation,buses
After the erstwhile Blue Line bus drivers in Delhi were held for a number of accidents, the task of installing and maintaining GPS in DTC and cluster buses was given to the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal System (DIMTS).(HT Photo)

If you are thinking of taking a DTC bus next time, it is at your own risk.

Turns out, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is unable to track any of its 3,944 buses plying on city roads as the GPS (global positioning system) installed in these buses are out of order.

The situation is not only putting the safety of passengers and buses at risk, but is also a violation of a Delhi high court order. The HC had in 2010, when the project was launched, sought a monthly status report of the project.

After the erstwhile Blue Line bus drivers were held for a number of accidents, the task of installing and maintaining GPS in DTC and cluster buses was given to the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal System (DIMTS), a company in which the Delhi government has 49% stake.

More than seven years later, not only are these devices dysfunctional, but even when they were working it failed to track buses on real-time basis. Why? Because the software and the server that are being used are simply not capable to handle the heavy traffic data of all the buses.

The Delhi government is now going to terminate the contract with DIMTS and the DTC is going to start the entire process of installing the GPS devices again. The entire project cost the government around ₹35 crore for which it plans to seek a refund from DIMTS.

The transport department will seek refund of ₹26.35 crore it had paid for the project, another ₹2.35 crore that the then Blue Line bus operators had paid as security deposit and around ₹5 crore that it charged on the rate of ₹1,200 per bus per annum.

“The project has failed and agencies are only engaging in blame-game. The commissioner of transport is working on this and a solution will be out soon,” transport minister Kailash Gahlot told Hindustan Times.

An internal report of the government on the GPS in buses termed the Automatic Vehicle Location System (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.

Explaining why it failed to work, the report stated that the GPS devices were initially installed inside the roof of the bus with some adhesive and later on were covered with a metal casing, which downgraded its performance. “The architecture of the system was such that when the vehicle’s engine would stop, the GPS device would also stop working. The batteries of these devices were never replaced,” it stated.

Besides, the entire plan of rationalising routes and improving performance of buses failed completely because the GPS could not give accurate locations of the buses and often gave wrong readings.

First Published: Sep 07, 2017 07:50 IST