Scorching heat renders DTC's AC buses ineffective
Delhi's scorching heat has taken its toll on DTC's air-conditioned buses. Almost 175 swanky cherry-coloured buses break down on city roads every day. Atul Mathur reports.delhi Updated: May 24, 2013 01:19 IST
Delhi's scorching heat has taken its toll on DTC's air-conditioned buses. Almost 175 swanky cherry-coloured buses break down on city roads every day. Several others continue to run on their regular passenger trips but with ineffective and a faulty air-conditioning system.
The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) had purchased 1,250 AC buses just ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2010 for almost R700 crore. Though the corporation had promised comfortable rides in these buses, especially during Delhi's summers and later the muggy weather during the monsoon, the buses have completely failed to deliver.
"We board air-conditioned buses thinking we will get some respite from this scorching heat but it rarely happens now. The AC system of most buses has been rendered ineffective in this weather. Even if the system is working full throttle, there is hardly any cooling inside," said SP Vyas, teacher with a technical institute in the Capital.
Passengers complained that the drivers turn-off the air-conditioning system when the buses are either crowded or are navigating a flyover.
"These buses cannot take load while navigating flyovers. We are forced to switch off the AC system, otherwise the buses will not move. Our officials are aware of this problem but it seems there is something wrong with the technology and it cannot be repaired now," said a DTC driver requesting anonymity.
Not only air-conditioned ones, cases of breakdowns in DTC's low-floor non-AC buses as well as the standard floor buses have increased in the past couple of months. During better weather, about 350 cases of breakdown were reported every day. The number has now gone up to almost 500. Seventy per cent of these buses are low-floor buses, which were added to DTC's fleet about 3-4 years ago.
Interestingly, sources in DTC claim the situation is relatively better this year in comparison to 2012.
Delhi Transport minister Ramakant Goswami agreed that cases of buses breaking down while ferrying passengers have increased but claim steps are being taken to improve the service.
"There are 14 teams of engineers to attend to the complaints. Our officials have had meetings with officials of Tata and Ashok Leyland (the two bus manufacturers) recently. We are penalising bus manufacturers if they fail to give us a fixed number of buses every morning," Goswami said.