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DTC likely to ‘hire’ 1,000 low-floor buses

Till date, the DTC has only hired three diesel run AC Volvo buses, all of which offer only international service on the Delhi-Lahore and Delhi-Kathmandu routes.

delhi Updated: Aug 27, 2018 04:51 IST
Swet a Goswami
Swet a Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
DTC,Bus,Hire
DTC had last added 3,775 buses to its fleet in 2010. (Ht FILE)

The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has proposed to “hire” 1000 “low-floor” air conditioned CNG buses to add to the city’s dying bus fleet. The move comes after the courts ‘precluded’ the DTC from purchasing 1,000 CNG non-AC standard floor buses.

The proposal to hire buses would be taken up by the DTC in its board meeting on Monday, after which it will be put before the Delhi Cabinet for an ‘in-principle’ approval. DTC officals said the proposal is significant as this will be the first time DTC will operate buses in gross-cost model, which is similar to the cluster bus scheme currently being run by the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS).

Till date, the DTC has only hired three diesel run AC Volvo buses, all of which offer only international service on the Delhi-Lahore and Delhi-Kathmandu routes.

“Once all approvals are received, the DTC will float a tender to appoint a consultant for the project. Another tender will be issued to finally choose the operator. In the hiring system, the operator is paid on a kilometre basis and all other expenses, including the deficit is borne by the state government. This is how cluster buses run by the DIMTS operate too,” said an official privy to the project.

The move assumes significance as Delhi is facing a huge shortage of buses in its public transport system. Despite the need for 11,000 buses, the national capital has only 5,500 buses, out of which 3,892 are DTC buses and the rest are cluster or orange buses run by DIMTS.

As many as 3,775 low-floor buses were added by the DTC during the Commonwealth Games in 2010, after which multiple tenders to buy more buses failed. The last tender to procure 1,000 CNG standard floor buses was floated in March this year but had to be shelved because the HC objected to the buses not being disabled-friendly. The Delhi government got no reprieve from the Apex court, where they challenged the high court order. However on August 2, the Supreme Court allowed the government to buy 500 buses.

A senior DTC official said the new proposal, which will be taken up for discussion on Monday, is disabled-friendly because all buses are low-floor.

Some officals, however, raised doubts about the feasibility of hiring buses for daily public transport. “A similar proposal was floated by the DTC in 2015. But, it fizzled out as it was in violation of a HC order according to which the state transport utility has to take permission of the court before venturing into any model related to the cluster system,” an
official said, on condition of anonymity.

According to the latest proposal of the DTC, the 1,000 AC low-floor buses would be hired with an option of “25% scalability”. “This means that, if needed, the DTC will be able to hire about 250 (25%) more buses through open tender with the same contract clauses,” a DTC official said.

First Published: Aug 27, 2018 04:51 IST