Thursday, 6 May 2010

Private operators must provide AC buses

With the first cluster of buses meant to replace Bluelines across 32 routes expected to hit the roads before the Commonwealth Games, the Delhi government has decided that companies bidding for the next four clusters should have at least 20 per cent of their buses air-conditioned. These buses, to be procured and operated by the private operator, will complement the 250 low-floor AC buses run by the Delhi Transport Corporation.

“A fifth of the buses provided by the new operators will have to be air-conditioned. These will be procured and operated by the firm,” said a senior Delhi government official.

As part of the scheme, drawn by the Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System (DIMTS) in 2007 for the gradual phase-out of Blueline buses, DTC is meant to operate 60 per cent buses in each cluster. The rest will be a combination of standard and low-floor buses procured by private bus operators.

“AC buses will add value to the city’s public transport system, and so we have decided to make it mandatory for those bidding for the four new clusters,” the official added. The initial bids for the four new clusters, including parts of South Delhi and Dwarka, will open on May 7.

By June, DTC expects its fleet to comprise 1,250 AC and 1,875 ordinary low-floor buses. The hike in tariff coupled with the nod for standard floor buses as per specifications of the Urban Development Ministry is expected to bring down costs for private operators. Officials believe this will make it easier for them to introduce AC buses. The first cluster of 32 routes was awarded at Rs 47 per km.

As per the new model, the 657 bus routes across the city were divided into 17 clusters, each with profitable and non-profitable routes. While the government will control bus fares, the private operator will get a fixed rate per kilometre quoted for each bus it runs in the cluster.


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