No parking space at Metro stations, no feeder buses

NEW DELHI NOV. 1. Lack of adequate parking space for buses at the Delhi Metro stations is being cited by the Delhi Transport Corporation as one of the reasons for its inability to provide feeder bus service to the entire 12.8-km Metro system that is functional at present.

A senior Delhi Transport Corporation official said it is for this reason that the DTC has so far only been able to provide feeder service at Tri Nagar station of the Delhi Metro to facilitate travel by people on the system. "Being a government-owned corporation we are duty-bound to complement the Metro and not compete with it. But with little or no parking space at several of the new stations such as Pul Bangash, Vivekanandpuri and Pratap Nagar, we are at a loss in extending our buses to them.''

The problem has its roots in the fact that the Metro passes through some very congested areas and due to this the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has not been able to provide much parking space near certain stations.

However, in the case of Tri Nagar - which at present constitutes the western end of the rail corridor - the situation is much different. The Senior Manager (Traffic) of DTC, A.K. Goel, said: "One shuttle service has been started to this station while the services of two others have been extended to it.''

Noting that in all, eight buses were now operating from the station, he said this had been done to improve connectivity between the Delhi Metro and the Delhi Transport Corporation.

As part of the initiative, the buses on route 985 plying between Rohini and Wazirpur have now been extended up to Tri Nagar. Thus people from these areas would now be able to access the station easily and commute to North East Delhi by the Metro at a fast pace.

Similarly, the buses plying between Janakpuri and Shahdara on route 832 would now terminate at Tri Nagar station and operate more as a shuttle service to the station. This would at least prevent some DTC buses from running parallel to the Metro's Shahdara-Tri Nagar corridor.

The other route from which some buses have been taken off and converted into a shuttle service is No. 247. Buses plying on this route between Krishna Vihar and ISBT will now also operate up to Tri Nagar. Again the move is aimed at taking off the DTC buses from the competitive route.

Sources said the rationalisation of routes seeks to make running of both the Delhi Metro and DTC buses more profitable. "There is no need for them to compete with each other. Rather, they should support each other's cause.''

Noting that while the issue of taking all the buses off the parallel route in North-East Delhi had been put on the backburner as there was opposition to the idea from various political circles, the official said initially it was difficult to take the buses off as the Metro was not permitted carrying of heavy luggage and such a move would have greatly inconvenienced the commuting public since most of the buses from the Shahdara side catered to both ISBT Kashmere Gate and Old Delhi Railway Station.

Also, while earlier people preferred travelling by buses -- as the route between Shahdara and Tis Hazari was just 8.3 km - after the extension of the line by 4.5 km up to Tri Nagar the ridership has more than doubled to around 70,000 per day. The clear shift in the passenger preference is due to the fact that over longer distances the Metro holds the advantage of faster travel, greater comfort in airconditioned environment and also cheaper fares as the maximum ticket cost is only Rs 8 as against Rs 10 in local buses.

As such, with more and more people opting for the Metro, it is but obvious that both the Delhi Transport Corporation and private bus operators will soon find operating on parallel routes a loss-making proposition. Sources say that in the days to come there would be a dramatic change in the bus routes across the city.

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