The Delhi government on Friday approved the process for tenders for around 400 electric buses with a view to increase the DTC fleet size, but the move will not reduce the problem of commuters waiting long hours to get a bus to reach their destination.
The shortage of buses in Delhi is already a major concern for over a decade as new vehicles were not procured since 2008, but the buses plying with only 50 per cent of seating capacity in view of Covid-19 pandemic spells more problems for the daily commuters.
After the lockdown restrictions were lifted and public activities were allowed, commuters dependent on Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses to reach their offices or return to their homes have to wait for hours to board a bus. The situation becomes worse during the morning and evening rush hours.
Women and senior citizens especially face a lot of problems because of the Covid-19 related regulations. At many places, the buses hardly wait for a few seconds, making it impossible for the elderly to board.
“I am waiting for a bus for more than 30 minutes. A bus comes and the driver does not even stop as there are no people getting down and the bus is already 50 per cent full,” said a woman, who was waiting for a bus at Barahkhambha road bus stop on Thursday evening, said in high irritation.
At present, Delhi has around 6,000 buses, of which around 3,500 are DTC buses, and the rest are private Cluster buses, while at present the city needs over 11,000 buses, as mandated under various court orders.
In March, the Delhi government had given approval to procure 300 electric buses and had said that the first lot of 118 electric buses will arrive in October this year, while November will see an addition of 100 buses. As many as 60 buses will arrive in December, while the remaining 20 buses are likely to be received by January 2022.
The Delhi government also planned to have 1,000 low-floor AC buses by mid-2022, but the procurement process has become embroiled in controversy as both the BJP and the Congress have raised some serious concerns, including alleged financial irregularity in its tendering process.
A probe committee, appointed by Lt Governor Anil Baijal, had, last week, given a clean chit to the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). However, the controversy has not ended as both the BJP and the Congress are still demanding an enquiry in the matter.