Contracts signed for four more bus clusters in Delhi

November 1st, 2010 - 5:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 1 (IANS) The Delhi government Monday awarded contracts for four more private bus clusters in the capital under its scheme aimed at phasing out the notorious Blueline buses.

“We have cleared four more clusters in southeast and southwest Delhi. The cluster 2 will be operated by private company Indraprastha, while three clusters will be operated by AB Spirits,” said Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely.

The minister said about 682 buses will be on roads in next six months in these clusters.

Contract for the first cluster was awarded to Janakpuri-based Star Bus Services Private Limited last year, which had signed an agreement to run 231 buses on pre-defined 32 routes in south Delhi.

Around 600 routes in the city have been divided into 17 clusters. Each company will be given one cluster and will operate buses in a particular area.

While the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) will run 60 percent buses (6,600) on these routes, one private company in each cluster will run the remaining 40 percent (4,400 buses).

This is expected to eliminate competition among bus operators, the main reason behind rashly driven Blueline buses.

The cluster system has been modelled on the lines of services in countries like Britain and France.

Blueline buses were introduced in Delhi in 1992, ending the monopoly of the state-owned DTC. The operators, in a bid to increase their income, would ask the drivers to go for more trips, resulting in violation of traffic norms and frequent accidents.

With a decision of the Supreme Court in 2008 to phase out the Blueline buses, the Delhi government initiated steps to do away with these private-run buses and introduced the cluster system, leading to the entry of big corporate houses.

About 1,600 privately owned Blueline buses, including 264 which run in cluster one, were banished in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games.

The Delhi government has decided not to let the remaining 800 Blueline buses ply on city roads beyond Dec 14.

However, the high court has ruled that the notification for complete phase-out of these buses by Dec 14 from the capital’s roads will not apply to the Blueline buses plying in south Delhi, even though the government is firm on the decision.

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