Killer Blueline buses expected to go off Delhi roads

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Old 02-Jan-2011
Killer Blueline buses expected to go off Delhi roads

New Delhi: The killer Blueline buses will become history by the end of this month.

The provincial Delhi government is ready with plans to replace the Blueline buses, which are being phased out from the city roads, with the orange and purple lowfloor buses owned by the Starbus company.

Starbus is expected to get about 150 new buses late this month which will be pressed into operation. The company will get a total of 231 buses by next month.

Starbus has been allocated a total of 32 bus routes where the Blueline buses have been plying, mostly in south Delhi areas.

The government decided to do away with Blueline buses, because in their bid to pick up passengers they would race each other and had earned a reputation for being killer buses.

Seventeen private corporate transportation companies have qualified to run buses on 657 Delhi routes. Starbus is the first among the private buses to hit the roads.

About 1,300 Blueline buses will stop plying in the city after the expiry of their licences this year.

Blueline buses were taken off the road during the October Commonwealth Games and the capital heaved a sigh of relief, although commuters initially encountered some hardships.

The government-owned Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has pressed into operation more than 350 low-floor buses it had acquired to carry the officials and participants of the Commonwealth Games.

DTC currently runs green and red coloured buses, non-air-conditioned and air-conditioned buses respectively, in addition to its existing old fleet of green and yellow buses.

The orange and purple buses of the Starbus, non-air-conditioned and air-conditioned respectively, will add further colour to Delhi's roads.

Road ahead

According to Delhi Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely, the idea is to eventually run only low-floor buses in the city.

The idea, according to Lovely, is to do away with the on-road competition among buses since these privately-owned companies have been allocated exclusive routes.

The Blueline buses are owned by individuals who have been encouraging their staff to maximise earnings, leading to a virtual dance of death on city roads.

"We will get around 150 low-floor buses by the end of January as part of the first cluster. In the following months, more lowfloor buses will come.

"The new buses have several new commuter-friendly features. The electronic ticketing system is also to be introduced from February," Lovely said.

These low-floor buses have seating capacity for 35 passengers and space for a wheelchair.

They would be fitted with built-in speed governor devices and are to have pneumatically-controlled doors and gas leakage detection alarm system.

DTC buses will continue to share road space with these private cluster buses. While initially DTC will run 60 per cent of the fleet compared to 40 per cent by the private cluster buses, gradually it is slated to become 60 per cent for the private cluster buses and 40 per cent for DTC.

All these buses are to follow unified timetables which authorities hope will do away with the unhealthy competition on the roads.

The trained cluster bus drivers have been instructed to stick to the bus lanes, which are earmarked on the extreme left hand side.

Since the ever-expanding Delhi Metro Rail has already managed to somewhat decongest roads, authorities feel the private cluster and DTC buses will be able to provide a better and safe public transportation system in the capital.

The local government likewise is also encouraging private radio taxi services run by companies instead of individually-owned taxis which are notorious for fleecing passengers.

The idea, according to officials, is to hand over both bus and taxi services to the corporate sector for better service and coordination as part of Delhi's continuing effort to become a world-class city.

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