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Forget cabs, Delhi govt to launch app-based daily bus rides for office-goers

A year after it was shot down by the then L-G Najeeb Jung , Delhi government is drafting a new app-based air conditioned bus service.

delhi Updated: Jul 15, 2017 17:31 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times
Delhi news,Delhi transport,Delhi government
Tickets or bookings for this service will be available only online, through mobile applications. The service will be run by private operators on lines similar to those of app-based cab aggregators.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Soon, residents of Delhi will be able to book a seat in an air-conditioned bus with a push of a button on their phones.

The Delhi government is drafting a new ‘app-based AC Bus Service, 2017’ proposal, which they believe will provide a comfortable alternative to people, especially office-goers, in the Capital.

Tickets or bookings for this service will be available only online, through mobile applications. The service will be run by private operators on lines similar to those of app-based cab aggregators.

The move comes a year after the government’s ‘Premium Bus’ scheme was struck down by the then Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung. To start with, the Delhi government wants to induct at least 1,000 app-based AC buses.

Speaking to HT, transport minister Kailash Gahlot said the government, through the project, aimed to take private vehicles off Delhi’s roads. There are around one crore private vehicles that ply on Delhi’s roads daily, of which 36 lakh are private cars.

“Not only do we want more people to shift from cars to public transport, the service will also be an important mode of last mile connectivity and one of the many solutions to lessen pollution and traffic congestions,” he said.

The minister added that operators in the new scheme will be issued stage carriage permits. “These AC buses are going to be under the premium segment having features like Wi-Fi, entertainment system, reclining seats, premium upholstery, GPRS, CCTV cameras and panic buttons,” Gahlot said

Premium AC bus service
The scheme will allow people to book and pay for seats in premium buses through mobile apps and will be on the lines of the existing private app-based caband bus services. The new AC buses will mostly cater to office goers who currently use their private cars for their daily commute. The new service will also aid in tackling Delhi’s pollution, congestion issues
Salient features of the new scheme
  • Project is a revised version of the Premium Bus Scheme de-notified last year
  • Will be run by pvt operators n Operators to be given stage carriage permits
  • Seat bookings will be offered only on mobile applications
  • All buses will have features like AC, Wi-Fi, audio-visual entertainment systems, CCTV cameras, GPRS, reclining seats and panic buttons
  • The Capital will be divided into 4-5 clusters for these buses to operate
  • Each cluster to have minimum of 100 buses running in it
  • Fares to be fixed by operators based on distance
  • Minimum and maximum fares to be fixed by the State transport Authority

The scheme launched in May last year could not be cleared because operators were to be given contract carriage permits, which automatically rendered the entire proposal ‘illegal’. Contract carriage permit holders cannot issue tickets to individuals. Buses with such permits can only be booked as a whole by a single entity.

Gahlot informed that the buses will mostly be mini buses having a seating capacity of 20 passengers. “In order to prevent Blue-Line type of competition, booking will be closed before the journey began,” he said.

Besides, to ensure passengers are not overcharged, the State Transport Authority (STA) will fix the maximum and minimum fares of the service. “Operators will have to fix the rates based on the distance travelled. In case of a breakdown while on duty, the operator will have to arrange for another bus within a stipulated time,” he said.

The buses will be divided in clusters and each cluster will have at least 100 buses in service during peak hours.

Officials said that any operator providing such service at present is illegal. “Operators like Shuttl, ZipGo and Ola Shuttle, which provide app-based buses, are plying with contract carriage buses. Once the scheme is notified, operators will have to get a stage carriage license through bidding and then they will be allowed to begin their services,” a government official said.

Last week, 53 app-based buses were impounded by the transport department.

Once the scheme is ready, the file will be sent to the L-G for his approval after the Cabinet’s nod. It will be notified, thereafter.

First Published: Jul 10, 2017 14:06 IST