By March, Delhi is going to get 225 new buses under the cluster (orange) network. The move will not only boost public transport, but will also help take at least 5,000-6,000 cars off the city roads.
The Delhi government and the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) which runs the cluster bus service are in the final leg of procuring standard floor non-AC buses. “These buses will be inducted by February end. We can safely say that by March all 225 new buses will ply on the given routes,” said a government official.
The buses will be able to seat 42 people — more than that of DTC’s 35-seater low floor buses. “The buses will be GPS-enabled and fares will be charged through electronic ticketing machines (ETMs). All 1,693 operational buses under the cluster fleet have these features too,” the official added.
The move is aimed as a step towards rationalising bus routes in Delhi and decreasing the headway or waiting time for buses.
The addition to the fleet is significant as DTC repeatedly failed to procure new buses over the past few years. The government now plans to introduce different bus sizes to cater to different routes.
As a part of the project, routes of RTVs or mini buses plying on the city roads will be rationalised. “The State Transport Authority (STA) has asked DIMTS to ensure that RTVs or mini buses cover all the areas that lack good bus connectivity. The study will also focus on whether RTVs or mini buses should be allowed in areas where the presence of e-rickshaws is not sufficient,” a member of the STA said.
There are about 800 RTVs or mini buses that have been allowed to run on city roads by the transport department under stage carriage permits.
In September, the government inducted 100 buses under the cluster fleet. In the next phase, it promised to add 800 buses, of which 431 buses will be air conditioned. The addition of the 225 buses leaves 144 buses, about which there has been no information.