P. Anima

Corporation will procure 500 new buses for now

  • `Manufacturer has to take care of the maintenance till 7.5-lakh km journey'
  • New buses will give the drivers a better view of the traffic on the road

    NEW DELHI: Kicking off a proposed plan for replacement of the Delhi Transport Corporation bus fleet, the first batch of sleek, low-floor, rear-engine buses will begin plying on the Capital's roads by September-end.

    With Tata winning the bid at Rs. 41 lakh a bus in the second tender floated for the purchase of buses, the DTC, according to sources, has saved about Rs. 7 lakh per bus.

    In the first tender floated in February 2006 that was subsequently cancelled, the lowest bid was quoted at Rs. 48 lakh a bus. The DTC will procure 500 buses for now.

    The loss-making DTC will also save money on maintenance of the new fleet as according to the tender document the vehicle manufacturer has to take care of the maintenance of the vehicle till 7.5-lakh km journey.

    The bidders for the first tender -- Tatas, Ashok Leyland and the Chinese company Xiaman Kinglong -- vied for the project this time too.

    The introduction of the fleet of low-floor disabled-friendly non-air conditioned buses is part of many measures taken by the Delhi Government to encourage people to use the public transport system, reduce traffic congestion on the roads and bring down accidents.

    According to the tender document, in these low-floor buses the height of the driver's seat from the road would be less.

    This will give the drivers a better view of the traffic on the road and probably prevent accidents.

    Other additional features include the engine on the rear side that will ensure less noise and heating both for the passengers and the drivers. The pneumatic entry doors will be on the front and the middle.

    The low floors of the bus will be of the same height as the pavement making it easier for the aged and the disabled to board the bus. To make access for wheelchairs easier the vehicles will kneel a little and also have ramps that could be unfolded.

    The buses will also have tubeless tyres and air suspension to ensure smooth rides.

    Further, if the old buses were bodies mounted on chassis, the new fleet will be "mono-cock bodies" -- a quantum leap in technology -- that will cause less vibration and give the buses a sleek look.

    About 200 of these new buses will be plying on the Capital's roads by the end of the 2007-08 financial year, while the entire fleet will be replaced by 2010.