Even as neighbouring States and private players make hay
Even as Delhi’s neighbouring States have been increasing their luxury bus operations to the national Capital and even private player Reliance Metro has joined the bandwagon to cash in on the lucrative corridors, the Delhi Government appears least interested in joining in the party.
On the contrary, the Delhi Transport Corporation, which was the first to take the lead in the field about a decade ago with launch of Volvo services to Katra in Jammu and Kashmir and Udaipur in Rajasthan, has almost done away with all its inter-State operations.
Almost a decade ago, the DTC was the first State transport body that realised the immense potential of luxury bus operations since the Railways was unable to meet the demand for comfortable air-conditioned travel of passengers and air services were far too costly.
“We operated these services for several years and they were running in profit too. But then with the shift of the entire DTC operations to compressed natural gas [CNG] buses, it was felt that running four or five buses made little sense and the service was discontinued several years ago,” said a senior DTC official.
This was when other States Roadways latched on to the opportunity offered by DTC’s exit.
Over the years, these States have intensified their operation of luxury buses to-and-fro Delhi. Most of these buses operate out of either New Delhi areas or the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
“The success of their operations can be gauged from the numerous travel agents who have come into the picture. Since the demand for these buses — mostly of Volvo make — is very high, almost all transport authorities are making profits,” said the DTC official.
Among major cities which are now connected to Delhi by these luxury buses are Jaipur, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Jammu and Dehra Dun.
New service announced
And even as DTC is still staying out of this sector, Reliance Metro on Friday announced launch of its Volvo and Mercedes bus services to Gujarat, Rajasthan, and from the Shivaji Stadium Metro station in Connaught Place.
Starting from 6 a.m., it would ply these buses at intervals of half-an-hour to Jaipur and Ahmedabad.
The development comes barely a month after Haryana Government announced that it would increase the daily trip frequency of its Volvo buses to Delhi and Gurgaon from 21 to 28 to help passengers.
For his part, Delhi Principal Secretary (Transport) R. Chandramohan said the Delhi Government has not been focussing on inter-State operations as it was busy with the augmentation of the local transport.
“Even otherwise, the inter-State operations are not very remunerative,” Mr. Chandramohan said.
As for the plying of buses of other States in Delhi, Mr. Chandramohan said that was primarily on a reciprocal basis.
“Delhi’s buses travel a certain distance in these State and we have to allow them equal amount of travel within Delhi. Due to the difference in Delhi’s size and these States, the ratio is very skewed and we normally negotiate it. This is the reason why so many buses from other States are seen in Delhi.”