NEW DELHI

Cluster bus service launched in Delhi

Happy boarding: Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on board the newly launched bus service in New Delhi on Thursday. - Photo: Sandeep Saxena  

To begin with, 231 buses will operate on 32 routes across South Delhi

The first cluster of private stage carriage buses that would run under a new corporatisation scheme in Delhi was flagged off by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit from Delhi Secretariat on Thursday. To begin with, 231 buses would operate on the first cluster to be operated on 32 routes by Star Bus Pvt. Ltd in South Delhi.

Launching the “orange'' coloured buses, Ms. Dikshit said: “I feel happy that the newly introduced bus cluster will make the mobility of the common man in Delhi much more comfortable and hassle free.''

Under the scheme the private concessionaires, who would be allotted clusters, would bring in their buses, arrange for their cleaning and maintenance and provide for the staff. For the services rendered, the concessionaire would be paid on the basis of an indexed cost system that would have a fixed component based on the cost of the bus, a variable component that would factor in the fuel and maintenance costs and a component that would deal with the wages cost keeping in mind the consumer price index.

Under the scheme, conceived and prepared by Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System Ltd. (DIMTS), all the revenues would go to the Delhi Transport Corporation and so the buses would not be competing with the DTC.

DIMTS MD and CEO S.N. Sahai said a “gross cost model'' has been adopted for running these buses so that while ``there was competition for the market, there was no competition in the market''.

The buses would be operated as per a unified timetable and on each route 40 per cent buses would be of the DTC while 60 per cent will be of the private concessionaires. In all the Delhi Government plans to have 11,000 buses on this system and about 800 of them by August this year.

Ms. Dikshit expressed hope that the orange buses under Cluster-1 will supplement the existing public transport system apart from providing comfortable service to the commuters at prescribed ticket charges.

Under the new system, Delhi's bus routes have been bundled into 17 clusters and of these five clusters have already been allotted to private players.

The buses that are being deployed under the cluster scheme would have state-of-the-art technology to guide and monitor them. They have been equipped with Global Position System (GPS) devices so that their movement and geographic location are tracked by the Automatic Vehicle Location System (AVLS) on real-time basis. Electronic Ticketing Machines (ETM) are being used on these buses in place of pre-printed tickets as part of the Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS), which will include smartcard passes.

Apart from this, the cluster buses will also have an on-board passenger information system that would provide the commuters with information on the next bus stops, traffic flow and time to reach the destination.

An Operation Control Centre, functioning from ISBT, Kashmere Gate, will monitor the movement of these Euro 4 compliant cluster buses on real time basis.

Delhi Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said: ``One of the most important changes is a shift from a situation where bus operators competed in the market to one where bus-provisioning organisations have competed for the market through a transparent process of bidding. Once the route-cluster-bidders adjudged the best enter the market, they have to meet service quality benchmarks to remain afloat without having to jostle with one another for fare-box.”

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