Private owners refuse to run AC buses this summer

Private owners refuse to run AC buses this summer

If you wish to travel in the comfort of air-conditioned buses this summer, you would have to depend on the Delhi Transport Corporation as private bus owners under the ‘cluster scheme’ do not appear keen to introduce them on city roads.

During the launch of cluster buses in May last year, the owners of cluster 1 — Star Bus Pvt Ltd – had promised to induct air-conditioned buses too in their fleet. 
However, the concessionaires have failed to include even a single AC bus in their fleet of over 90 launched over the  past year. 
The bus owners are taking a legal stand on the issue. 
“As per the agreement with Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System (DIMTS), we just have to operate non AC-buses,” said Garjar Singh of Star Bus.
DIMTS is the consulting company that drafted the corporatisation of the private bus operation scheme and is supervising cluster bus operations on behalf of Delhi government. 
‘Not mandatory’
DIMTS officials confirmed that the  clause is not mandatory. 
“Introducing air conditioned buses has not been a part of the original contract with any of the cluster concessionaires. If the owners of cluster-1 had promised to introduce AC-buses, it must have been their personal initiative,” said a DIMTS spokesperson.
While the cluster owners are taking cover under legal documents, transport department officials maintain that they  have changed their mind due to the higher cost of buying and running AC buses.
“The owners have already stopped procuring low-floor buses. Now the buses being inducted into service are semi low-floor buses, which are cheaper,” an official said. Out of the over 5800-strong DTC bus fleet, only about 1200 are air-conditioned.
Routes classification
The transport department last year had divided nearly 650 bus routes across the city into 17 clusters, each comprising profitable and non-profitable routes and alloted each cluster to a private operator.

Some of the major routes on which 96 buses under cluster-1 already run include 411 (Ambedkar Nagar to Mori Gate), 419 (Ambedkar Nagar to Old Delhi Railway Station) and 522 (Ambedkar Nagar to Arya Samaj Road).

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