'We are hopeful of adding more buses to fleet'

The Delhi government is mulling over which categories should be exempted from the second phase of odd-even trial. DTC’s Managing Director C R Garg says the number of exemptions will determine how many more buses the Corporation will need to add in order to ferry passengers.

The last phase had a host of exemptions like two-wheelers, VIP cars and women drivers. Garg speaks to DH correspondent Pratik Kumar about his organisation’s experience with the odd-even scheme. Excerpts from the interview:

How did DTC fare in the first edition of the odd-even car scheme, from January 1 to 15?
We have managed to reduce the breakdowns. That’s why the average number of buses on road per day has increased. We ensured maximum out-shedding of buses during the odd-even trial. DTC staff worked day in, day out without even taking leaves. We are thankful to all the bus drivers and conductors who reported on time and knew what they were in for. I think they are really dedicated.

Days before the odd-even trial, the target of hiring adding private buses to the DTC’s fleet was scaled down to 3,000. Despite that the Corporation could not bring in even half the number of buses. Do you think it is possible to have more buses on road during the second edition of the drastic car curbs?

Our ridership per day increased to over 40 lakh during the 15-day odd-even trial. Against our own speculation, we were able to handle the commuter rush with just 1,200 additional buses. The private operators had agreed to provide us 1,800 buses.

Is it true to the private schools “betrayed” the government’s trust and went back on its commitment to provide their buses to the DTC?
It would be wrong for me to comment on what the Hon’ble Transport Minister said.

Government said it will bring 1,000 more buses to the DTC’s fleet after July. How prepared is the DTC?
We have floated a global tender. At this point, we can’t say how many have applied. But this time we have more bidders this time.

DTC has not been able to add new buses for many years now. Will the deal will come through in time?
No one can give a guarantee. But as I said, we have more bidders this year. So we are very hopeful. We can’t say what kind of bus specifications we are looking at this stage because we don’t know.

And are we sure that we will have sufficient number of buses in case the odd-even scheme is implemented in February, April or May?

The government is taking feedback on what categories should be exempted from the odd-even formula. During the road rationing days, the city saw both the economic and social benefits of carpooling.

People took less time in commuting because there was less congestion on roads. The number of buses we will need in case of reimplementation of the odd-even scheme will depend on what exemptions the government decides to scrap. Let the government take a decision. We will rise to the occasion regardless of whatsoever is role is fixed for us.

The government has promised premium buses to Delhiites. Has the DTC already floated a tender?
The buses will be procured by DIMTS (Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System – a joined venture between Delhi government and IDFC Limited. The Corporation has got nothing to do with it.

What is the DTC doing to lure in people who are willing to leave their car behind?
We are getting WiFi, CCTV surveillance on board. We are also bringing in a GPS-based system to inform people what time their buses are arriving: it is called the passenger information system. We are also working on factors that determine the punctuality of our buses.

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