Public transport system in North and West Delhi areas is all set to improve as 50 semi low- floor buses were today introduced under the ambitious cluster bus service to be operated by private parties under PPP model. With induction of the 50 buses, the number of buses under the cluster service has gone up to 150. The first cluster service was launched in May for South Delhi areas.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely flagged off the buses at a function. Although all buses inducted under the cluster buses previously were low-floor, the current lot comprises semi-low floor buses which are modified version of the standard floor buses. All the semi low-floor orange coloured buses have an on board passenger information system similar to that of Delhi Metro, GPS and electronic display board.
The buses will operate on cluster no three, five and four. The new buses will operate between West Delhi and North East Delhi areas such as Punjabi Bagh Mangolpuri, Kamla Market, Wazirpur Depot Wazirpur, ISBT Kashmere Gate, Sukhbir Nagar, Rithala Village, Old Delhi Railway station, Rani Khera, Tikri Border and Azadpur Terminal. The combined length of the routes to be covered by the new buses would be around 236 km. In 2009, the Delhi government had divided nearly 650 bus routes across the city into 17 clusters — each comprising profitable and non-profitable routes and decided to give each cluster to a private operator. Four corporate entities were already given contract to operate the services in five clusters.
The cluster bus service was envisaged to replace the ‘killer’ Blueline fleet, which has almost been phased out from the capital. The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) currently operates around 6,500 buses, including 4,000 low-floor buses. Speaking on the occasion, Dikshit expressed hope that the the buses under new clusters will supplement the existing public transport system apart from providing comfortable service to the commuters. “We are working very hard to improve our public transport system and cluster bus service is part of that sustained effort,” Dikshit said. Transport Minister Lovely said around 4,000 buses would be plying under the cluster service in the city by the end of next year. Officials from AB Grain Spirits Pvt Ltd, which will operate the new cluster, said a total of 119 buses will operate in the cluster 2 which will include Teevra Mudrika.
The remaining buses will be introduced shortly. They said the GPS devices onboard the buses will provide real-time information on location and speed of the buses and a central monitoring room will keep a tab on them. Speed governors have been installed on the buses to regulate their speed. Asked why the government allowed semi low floor buses, officials of transport department said government decided to allow semi low floor buses to cut cost as the new operators will be paid around Rs 33 per km instead of around Rs 47 for the low floor bus operators. Lovely said the new buses comply with the urban bus specifications set by the central government and the buses will operate from Kanjhwala bus depot.
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