More than 100 brand new low-floor, compressed natural gas-run buses joined the Delhi Transport Corporation fleet at the Indian Gate lawns here on Sunday.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit flagged off the new buses and also took a ride in a red coloured air-conditioned bus. A total of 77 non-air-conditioned and 30 air-conditioned buses were dedicated to the people of the city in the morning. These buses have a number of new features providing extra comfort and safety to passengers.

Transport Minister Arvinder Singh, Health Minister Kiran Walia, Chief Minister’s Principal Secretary P. K. Tripathi, DTC Managing Director Naresh Kumar and Tata Motors president Ravi Pisharody were also present.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Dikshit said Delhi would become the first city in the world to have the highest number of CNG low-floor buses with the commissioning of 3,500 more such buses by March next year ahead of the Commonwealth Games. It would also help in providing a reliable, modern and secure public transport system in the Capital, she added.

At present, DTC is plying 3,559 buses including 631 non-AC and 25 AC low-floor CNG buses and 2,903 standard-floor buses. As per its augmentation programme, DTC has placed orders for 1,744 non-AC low-floor buses and 1,163 green AC low-floor buses.

Ms. Dikshit said induction of new buses would change the entire public transport scenario and discourage people from using their private vehicles resulting in less congestion on the roads, less fuel consumption and more comfort for commuters. At the same time, she also stressed on proper maintenance and cleanliness of the new buses. She suggested that the buses could be prepared for use of visitors for Delhi Darshan.

The new buses have a number of unique features. These included barrier-free access to persons with disabilities including wheel chairs with wrap-around type ramp; speed limiting through engine management software; front, rear and side LED-based alfa numeric dual display; and display of approaching bus stops with integrated voice announcement system compatible with GPS.

Other features include gas leakage detection alarm system, tubeless tyres, one emergency exit door, high visibility bell pushes for audible electric type chimes and 2,10,000 km or three years operation warranty whichever is later.

Transport Minister Arvinder Singh said his department was ready to realise the vision of the best public transport system as dreamt by the Chief Minister. He stated that under its first phase of modernisation, DTC has decided to add around 3,500 new buses by March next year. “With commissioning of new buses we will be able to phase out the Bueline buses. A programme for providing training to DTC drivers and give them tips on etiquettes is going on well,’’ he added.

The Minister said the process for recruitment of drivers was being speeded up. “It is a matter of great satisfaction and pride that DTC has been providing its services on around 20,000 routes. Earning per kilometre of the DTC has gone up from Rs.16 to Rs.18,” he added.

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