Blueline buses get fresh lease of life (Lead)

January 31st, 2011 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) The capital’s Blueline buses, dubbed “killer buses” because of their reckless drivers, have earned a fresh lease of life. They were to be withdrawn from the roads Monday. Nearly 800 privately-owned and run Blueline buses will continue to run in Delhi in February after the Delhi High Court Monday directed the Delhi government not to ban vehicles whose permits had not expired.

A division bench headed by Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Suresh Kait pulled up the transport department for bringing out a notification dated Jan 28 which banned the buses on city roads from Jan 31.

The court permitted the operators to run their buses till the pronouncement of final judgment - on the bus owners’ plea - which was reserved Jan 20.

The buses, blamed for hundreds of deaths on city roads, were supposed to be phased out Jan 31. But the court’s order will allow nearly 800 buses, with valid permits, to ply even beyond this date. Of these, nearly 500 buses have permits valid till June.

The Delhi government is arguing that the Blueline buses must be phased out from the national capital as they are a threat to the commuters.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Transport Minister Arvinder Singh expressed confidence that the goverment would complete the phase-out of the Blueline buses as per its plan.

“Today (Monday) will be the last day for Blueline buses. They will not ply on Delhi roads from tomorrow (Tuesday),” the minister told IANS.

A new fleet of ‘cluster buses’ is set to replace the Blueline buses.

The cluster buses will have several modern facilities, including GPS, temperature reader and clocks, electronic ticketing machines and onboard passenger information system on the lines of the Metro through which commuters will be able to know about the upcoming bus stops and expected time of arrival.

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