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Cluster bus scheme fails to take off in Delhi

Special Correspondent

Fully government-run transport system by 2010-end


Delhi Government had in July 2007 announced plans to have 17 clusters across the city

Both mini-buses and mega-buses will be operated in tandem with the Metro railway


NEW DELHI: With the much talked about cluster or cooperative scheme for running private buses in the Capital turning out to be a non-starter, Delhi is now all set to have an almost fully government-run transport system by 2010-end.

The first of the clusters, which would have had about 230 buses and operated in South Delhi, has not been approved as the operators were seeking an assured financial assistance that would cost the Delhi Government nearly Rs.400 crore a year.

The Delhi Government had in July 2007 announced plans to have 17 such clusters across the city and interested parties eager to operate more than 100 buses each were invited.

But the scheme got a lukewarm response. With the first cluster proving to be financially unviable, the Delhi Cabinet also did not approve of it. Therefore the scheme has now almost been shelved.

Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely, however, believes that by increasing the number of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses from nearly 3,000 at present to around 5,500 by 2010-end the Government will be able to meet its transportation needs.

Besides these buses, DIMTS is also carrying out a study to identify feeder bus routes for the Delhi Metro railway network that is set to expand further to large parts of the city by 2010.

Both mini-buses and mega-buses will be operated in tandem with the Delhi Metro railway to provide an effective public transportation system.

Meanwhile, the off-again-on-again drive to phase out the deadly Blueline buses is also continuing.

Already 1,200 of them have gone off the roads, and with the Government only giving one extension of four months to these buses on expiry of their permits and not extending them anymore, more and more such buses are going off the roads.

For some time now the Delhi Government has been following the policy of removing from service all those Blueline buses which got involved in fatal accidents.

In an affidavit filed in a court the Delhi Government has stated that by 2010-end it will have about 10,000 buses on the roads.

And from the manner in which the private sector is being kept out thanks to the city’s experience so far with Bluelines and Redlines, it seems the fleet will be almost fully government-owned.

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