Ticket to ride
We’re obviously missing the link between low-floor buses and road accidents. We’re missing the link between ‘killer’ Bluelines and the health of the nation. And we’re very obviously being spoilsports. After all, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, bless her soul, must have given great thought to her proposal to replace Delhi’s Blueline buses with low-floor ones as the idle, sorry, ideal way to stop untrained, overworked drivers from running amok on the capital’s streets. As if in tandem, Delhi Transport Minister Haroon Yusuf’s promise to pull out DTC buses from school routes is a masterstroke.
To begin with, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss must be rejoicing. For this extraordinary brainwave of phasing out Bluelines, replacing them with smooth operators (with perhaps the same drivers in smart uniforms?) and pushing back DTCs onto regular route-runs all tie in rather well. With a shortage of CNG buses, students will be forced to walk to school. If children walk to school, then two problems are immediately taken care of. One — Mr Ramadoss will heartily agree — is that of child obesity, an issue that will no longer weigh us down. And two — Ganguly Committee rejoice — parents and schools will be forced to follow the 7 km neighbourhood policy during nursery admissions. Reprieve, at last. Nothing like trampling down two roadblocks with one bulldozer. Mr Yusuf has also warned private bus operators of dire consequences if they don’t mend their ways — he is likely to let them manage the services of low-floor buses.
At the end of it, since it is always only a way out the government seeks, and seldom a solution, wouldn’t it have been easier to paint all Bluelines a soothing pastel shade? We painted the Redlines blue, phased out the Greenlines, sent off the DTCs to school, insisted on CNG, and we’re still on a slippery slope. Guess as long as there are colours in the palette, we’ll just have to suffer one eyewash after another.