DTC to add more wheels to its fleet

Ready to roll:  An electric bus at the Indraprastha Bus Depot in Delhi.

Ready to roll: An electric bus at the Indraprastha Bus Depot in Delhi.

Over 1,400 buses are expected to be added to the Capital’s public transport fleet by the end of this year. Buses, in batches of hundreds, are expected to be inducted every three to six months which will eventually take the city’s bus fleet size to its highest in a decade.

Having successfully tided over an apparent jinx in the procurement of buses, which persisted for over a decade, the Delhi government has pinned its hopes on the Centre’s ‘Grand Challenge’ scheme to fulfil its electric bus wishlist.

Delhi has made an ambitious pitch for 1,500 electric buses under the scheme in which around 3,500 buses will be procured by the Government of India for allotment to State transport undertakings of nine mega cities. It hopes to get at least 1,000 of the 1,500 it has requested, sources said.

Clean fuel technology

“We expect a major augmentation of the public bus fleet this year. All the vehicles which will be part of this exercise will utilise clean fuel technology — that is electric and CNG systems,” said Ashish Kundra, Secretary-cum-Commissioner, Transport.

It is turning out to be a good year for the city’s public transport infrastructure. The year began with the induction of the first bus since 2011, an electric one, by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) here on Monday. Furthermore, the number of public buses on the streets is expected to see an incremental increase at least thrice in 2022 by the end of April, October and December.

According to a senior government official, a contingent of 650 buses, including 350 low-floor and AC CNG and 300 electric buses under the cluster scheme, are expected to be rolled out by the end of April. A batch of 100 among these was flagged off by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal last week.

By the end of October, the Transport Department hopes to replace 450 buses retiring from the ageing DTC fleet with cluster buses. According to sources, a tender for this is in the final stages of preparation before being floated. As many as 330 electric buses, also under the cluster scheme, are expected to be inducted by the end of December.

Currently at 6,900, the planned induction of more vehicles in phases will take the number of public buses beyond 7,300 in spite of the replacement of the 450 ageing vehicles on the DTC fleet. The fleet was at its strongest, with 6,342 vehicles, in 2010.

Ambitious pitch

With its eyes set on a target of 2,000 electric buses over the coming years, Delhi is among nine mega cities — that is those with a population of over 10 million — to be asked to pitch its demand for electric buses as part of the ‘Grand Challenge’ scheme.

The other cities include Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune and Surat. The final call on the actual allotment of electric buses, in which the Centre will float a joint tender and procure almost 3,500 buses, will be taken after their procurement.

“It is an ambitious pitch. Be that as it may, we hope Delhi will be allotted around 1,000 buses being procured by the Centre,” a source said.

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Printable version | May 16, 2022 11:28:05 am |