New Delhi: The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), which is struggling to augment its fleet, will soon be left with 3,775 buses. The number is alarming considering the city needs 11,000 buses as per a government affidavit submitted to the court. The cluster bus system runs around 1,500 buses.
At present, the state bus agency has 4,150 buses, of which 300-400 are standard-floor buses that are headed for scrap. Over the next couple of months, these will be retired from service, leaving DTC with only 3,775 buses.
These are the low-floor buses acquired by DTC way back in 2010, the last time that the transport agency went in for fleet augmentation on a large scale. There were 3,781 low-floor buses earlier in the year but some have been lost to accidents/incidents like fire, said sources. The number stands at 3,775, of which 2,500 are non AC buses.
The Delhi government had promised to add 3,000 buses after phases I and II of the odd-even scheme got over. A thousand buses were to be added to the DTC fleet, while another thousand was to be added to the cluster system.
The rest was to come from a "premium" bus category that was to be launched in 2016. Almost a year later, only 100 buses have been added to the cluster system.The "premium" bus service got shot down by LG Najeeb Jung for irregularities while the government is yet to take a call on the tender for new buses that DTC needs to come out with to acquire a new fleet.
Transport minister Satyendar Jain, who had talked about inducting 500 midi or smaller buses in DTC, hasn't given approval for purchase of these buses yet.
DTC's full fleet strength, which was 4,461 in January this year, is making do with 4,150 buses, which will be down to 3,775 buses by the end of the year. What makes the situation critical is the fact that on any given day, the actual number of buses on the roads is much less than the full fleet strength, as 10-15% of the fleet is usually unavailable due to maintenance and other issues. DTC has a ridership of 35 lakh per day.
Meanwhile, the state transport utility is losing its fleet to age. The fleet strength has been going down every month as the old standard floor buses are scrapped. In 2015 alone, 2,100 buses were sent to the junk-yard.