1,600 Blueline buses off Delhi roads

The buses were shunted out from south and central Delhi as well as from areas near Commonwealth Games venues in east and north Delhi. There were around 2,400 privately-owned Blueline buses operating in the capital and now only 800 of them will continue to ply till December 14, the deadline set by the city government for complete phase-out of the 'rouge bus' fleet, blamed for frequent road accidents.

Commuters in several areas complained of facing difficulties in commuting due to shortage of Delhi Transport Corporation buses.

"I have to wait for almost 40 minutes at Nizamuddin for a bus to Connaught Place. The frequency of DTC buses were very thin," said Dinesh Gupta, a resident of Bhogal.

The government yesterday had issued a notification banning operation of the 1,600 buses which were taken off the roads prior to the Commonwealth Games. The government last month had shunted out 1,600 buses from south and central Delhi as well as from areas near Commonwealth Games venues and nearly 835 buses were allowed to ply again in non-NDMC areas from last Saturday.

The government decided to go for complete phase-out of the Blueline fleet after finding that commuters did not face much of a problem when these buses were kept off the roads during the Games.

The Delhi High Court had stayed the government's move to phase out the Blueline buses in February arguing that the DTC alone was not capable to meet the requirement of public transport.

Officials said government would file an affidavit in the high court tomorrow, the next date of hearing in the case, apprising it about the reasons behind the decision to go for complete phase-out of the fleet.

The Blueline bus operators are also planning to plead before the court to set aside the government notification. Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said government-run Delhi Transport Corporation now has 6,500 buses including nearly 4,000 low floor buses and the fleet will be able to meet transport requirement of the city.

The government had set many a deadline in the last few years to phase out the Blueline buses and replace them with swanky low-floor buses ahead of the Commonwealth Games but failed.

According to government statistics, 182 people had lost their lives in accidents involving Blueline buses in 2005 while the number of people killed by these buses in 2006 was 163. 108 people lost their lives in 2008 while in 2009, 115 people were killed in accidents involving Blueline buses.

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