Old DTC buses still ply on city roads

Old DTC buses still ply on city roads

We are forced to run them due to fewer cluster buses, say officials

In a measure that has economic as well as operational consequences, the Delhi Transport Corporation is running at least 1,000 standard-floor buses on the city roads, which ideally should have been phased out by 2011.

DTC officials say the operation of such buses is detrimental to the financial health of the corporation as the maintenance cost of such buses is very high, but are forced to keep them into their fleet as they cannot phase them out till their are adequate number of cluster buses on roads. Moreover, these buses also cause operational problem as they are prone to frequent breakdowns.

“The total number of buses that has to be operated by the DTC and DIMTS is in the ratio of 40:60. As per that equation, DTC needs to run close to 4,500 buses. We are already running 3,775 low-floor buses. We can very easily phase out the older buses. But we are forced to run them due to lack of adequate number of cluster buses,” a DTC official said.

Currently, 2,400 standard-floor buses of DTC are plying on roads apart from the 3,775 low-floor ones. Out of them, at least 1,300 are over 10-year-old. The Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) on Monday rolled out another 24 semi-low floor buses under Cluster 5, taking the total number of cluster buses to 189.

The official added while a sizeable number of the old fleet have passed their utility, those operating from Kanjhawala and Bawana depot are in very bad shape. Another DTC official said with the option of low-floor buses before the commuters, the standard buses have witnessed a dip in their ridership, thus adding up to the reasons that they must be phased out at the earliest.

DIMTS official say lack of available land for depots has led to delays in rolling out buses under the cluster scheme.

According to a DIMTS spokesperson, the buses which were rolled out on Monday will ply on route No. 901 from Kamla Market to Red Fort, ISBT, IP College, Old Secretariat, Mall Road, GTB Nagar, Azadpur, Wazirpur, Madhuban Chowk and Mangolpuri Y-block.

The first lot of cluster buses were flagged off in May. The government has set an ambitious target of rolling out 4,000 buses under the cluster scheme by the end of this year.