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DTC grapples with ageing buses as maintenance stays low

Two people were killed in Azadpur when a DTC bus hit two e-rickshaws and an auto on Wednesday. It was suspected that a tyre burst triggered the accident. In February alone, 5,950 cases of breakdowns were recorded from a fleet of 3,780 DTC buses.

delhi Updated: May 24, 2017 23:51 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times
DTC,DTC breakdown,Azadpur DTC accident
A DTC bus hit two e-rickshaws and an auto in Azadpur killing two people in Azadpur on Wednesday. Police suspect the driver lost control over the bus after a tyre burst. (Sushil Kumar/HT Photo)

With nearly 77% of Delhi’s low-floor buses ageing, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is facing an uphill task of maintaining them.

On Wednesday a DTC bus whose tyre burst led to two lives being lost on Delhi’s roads. It also injured three people after the driver lost control over the vehicle and rammed an auto and an e-rickshaw.

In February alone, 5,950 cases of breakdowns were recorded from a fleet of 3,780 DTC buses that are plying on city roads. The problem is that the maintenance cost of these buses is so high that manufacturers do not want to take the onus on them, DTC officials said.

“We pay the manufacturers for the maintenance of the buses. But, they claim the cost is not enough and that their expenses are far more. Our audits show what we pay is fine,” an official said. These buses are operated by two manufacturers in the city.

A lack of consensus on the issue could also impact the quality of maintenance work, said experts.

For AC buses, the DTC pays the manufacturers Rs 4.10 per km for the first 75,000 km or one year; Rs 5 per km for 1.5 lakh km or two years; and Rs 7.10 per km for 2.1 lakh km or three years, whichever is later.

For non-AC buses, the annual maintenance contract (AMC) is Rs 3.2 per km, Rs 4.60 per km and Rs 6.50 per km respectively. The AMC or annual maintenance contract was added to tenders way back in 2007, when 650 buses were procured.

The clause was then added in the 2010 contract ahead of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) based on which DTC got bulk of its low-floor fleet. However, increasing bus breakdown cases and penalties imposed by DTC had prompted bus manufacturers, especially the corporation’s major manufacturers — Tata and Ashok Leyland — to express their reluctance to continue with the AMC clause.

“Manufacturers backed out from participating in the bids as they demanded the AMC clause to be removed. Because of this, tenders failed repeatedly since 2014,” another official said.

Following this, the Delhi government had recommended doing away with the AMC clause in the contract. But, a decision has still not been taken on the modalities of it.

First Published: May 24, 2017 23:51 IST