According to the Transport Department, blueline buses are proposed to be phased out from Delhi roads by June 30, 2009. The decision has been taken to provide ''safe, secure, reliable, better quality and properly coordinated public transport system through efficient management''. Besides, the Delhi government has decided to enlarge the scope of the private sector in the existing system in the interests of the commuters and road users of the national capital.
As part of the exercise, the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) has proposed to group all the 657 routes, including the 311 on which stage carriage buses were not operating, into 17 distinct clusters.
To minimise competition on roads, each cluster of routes would be serviced by a single private operator and the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC).
Accordingly, bulk permits would be granted to operate on an identified route. The overall fleet strength of private buses and the DTC would be restricted in the ratio of 40:60.
The existing private stage carriage buses would be phased out in a gradual manner in synchronisation with the induction of the fleet of buses by big fleet owners and operators.
The necessary steps in this regard have already been initiated by the State Transport Authority (STA). The Delhi government has also intensified the enforcement drive in order to discipline blueline buses.
The existing bus transport system in Delhi was an admixture of public and private buses. At present, DTC operates 3100 buses and its fleet would be augmented to 6000 by 2009. Individual private operators were also plying approximately 3600 buses to meet the bus transport demand of Delhi. In addition, 1400 mini/RTV buses were also operating as stage carriages.
The present private bus operations have not been able to operate strictly in compliance with the stipulated permit conditions and court orders. The recent spurt in accidents has led to public concern and criticism over the manner in which the service was operating.
After examining the reasons, the Delhi government has decided that the operation of buses through individual permits and operators was not conducive for maintaining an efficient, reliable and safe bus service.
Once the required documents are prepared, the scheme is proposed to be notified by March 1, 2008 for inviting bids from the prospective companies.
Meanwhile, the government has sought applications from transporters to operate private stage carriage buses on different routes on temporary permits following vacancies created due to the cancellation and suspension of blueline vehicles.