The national capital will get at least 3,000 new buses in the next seven to eight months, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced while flagging off the first lot of 25 buses for the city on Tuesday.
The 3,000 buses are a part of a total 4,000 buses, which the Delhi government will be getting by 2020 to augment the city’s transport system.
The non air-conditioned, standard floor buses, which were flagged off on Tuesday, are first in the city to be fitted with hydraulic lifts for easy access for the differently-abled and senior citizens.
Speaking at the event, Kejriwal said the new buses will not only help boost public transport but also improve the air quality in the national capital.
“In the last seven-eight years, no new buses were added to Delhi’s public transport system. But, in the coming seven-eight months, 3,000 new buses will be delivered. In this fleet of 3,000 buses, we will also have some electric buses – another first for the city,” Kejriwal said.
Transport minister Kailash Gahlot said that the government overcame “unimaginable obstructions” for procuring new buses. “Nobody could think that some people would go to court even on the matter of getting buses in the city. In the past two years, we fought hard to ensure that the cases turned in our favour,” he said.
Apart from hydraulic lifts, the 25 new buses that were pressed into service from Tuesday are equipped with three CCTV cameras, GPS and panic buttons.
The fleet of 1,000 standard floor buses, of which Tuesday’s 25 buses are a part, will be delivered by January next year. These buses will be added to the existing fleet of 1,679 buses that are operational under the cluster scheme of the Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System (DIMTS).
The chief minister said that the delivery of another 1,000 e-buses, being procured by the government, will begin from February. Roll out of the first batch of 385 e-buses is expected in February 2020. The remaining 615 e-buses will be procured in next phases, the government later said in a press conference.
Apart from this, tenders for 1,000 low floor air-conditioned buses for Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) have also been floated.
Besides, the government is also moving to induct 1,000 low floor air-conditioned buses under the cluster scheme.
In the new standard floor buses flagged off on Tuesday, drivers will get a clear view of the rear of the bus while reversing, thanks to a rearview camera. Each bus comes with a touch-enabled screen fixed near the driver’s steering for live feed. This is in addition to two cameras that are fitted inside the bus for safety of passengers. So far this year, cluster and DTC buses have been involved in at least 27 fatal accidents. In 2018, the count was 15.