Cluster bus service starts in Delhi

The much-awaited and ambitious cluster bus service, to be run by corporate entities and modeled on the public transport system of Paris, was launched here today with an initial fleet of 231 swanky low-floor buses.

Updated: May 05, 2011, 14:18 PM IST

New Delhi: The much-awaited and ambitious
cluster bus service, to be run by corporate entities and
modeled on the public transport system of Paris, was launched
here today with an initial fleet of 231 swanky low-floor
buses.

"The cluster service will significantly improve public
transport facilities in Delhi. People will now have better
road transport options," Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said
after opening of the service.
The service for the first cluster will be run by Star Bus
Pvt Ltd in 32 routes in South Delhi. Three corporate entities
were already given contract to operate the services in five
clusters.

Buses will have an on board passenger information system
similar to that of Delhi Metro which will provide commuters
with various information like upcoming bus stops, expected
time of arrival and traffic flow.

Trained staff will operate the buses which shall come
with global positioning system and temperature reader, while
conductors will issue tickets through Electronic Ticketing
Machine (ETMs).
The fleet will be Euro-IV compliant.

In 2009, the Delhi government had divided nearly 650 bus
routes across the city into 17 clusters -- each comprising
profitable and non-profitable routes and decided to give each
cluster to a private operator.

The cluster bus service was envisaged to replace the
`killer` Blueline fleet, which has almost been phased out
from the capital.

With the launch of the service, the transport system is
set to improve further. The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC)
currently operates around 6,500 buses, including 4,000
low-floor buses.

The government had last year announced the ambitious
scheme under which corporate entities were sought to be
involved in this transport system on the pattern of cities
like Paris and London.

Officials said the private entities given contract for
four other clusters will also soon launch their operations and
the total fleet size under the new service is expected to be
around 800 buses by August this year.

Non-AC buses will be painted in orange, while those
with air-conditioning system shall come in a purple hue.

The government wanted to do away with competition and
hence, they devised to provide one cluster to one corporate
entity.

As per the plan finalised by Delhi Integrated Multi-modal
Transit System (DIMTS), the transport department will finalise
the bus fares which will go to the government while the
private operator will be paid a fixed amount on the basis of
every kilometre travelled.

PTI