A Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus was hired to ply between Jor Bagh Metro station and India Habitat Centre (IHC) less than a month ago. The aim was to provide feeder service to people working around Lodhi Road as well as introduce a mechanism to discourage people from bringing their cars in. But lack of takers has spelled the death knell for the service – it will be discontinued next week.
Two green low-floor non-AC buses were hired by the IHC for a rent of Rs 5 lakh a month. “We did enough publicity activities before starting the service. We hired the buses because we saw a potential demand for it. In fact, one bus was hired to ply between Jawaharlal Nehru Metro station and IHC. This was plying empty and we discontinued it earlier this week. Now, the second bus — between Jor Bagh and IHC — will be discontinued next week,’’ an official at the IHC said. He said they they were charging a nominal rate of Rs 10 per person per ride.
According to the official, many employees of IHC and surrounding areas had often complained of being overcharged by auto-rickshaws to commute from these Metro stations to the IHC. “Similar complaints were made by several employees of other office complexes in the area. This had prompted us to start the service. But once we started it, there were hardly any takers, which was very surprising,’’ the official said.
The IHC is a comprehensive convention centre with a mix of commercial and social spaces. The bus service began on April 15 and operated from 11 am to 9.30 pm, with a 20-minute gap between trips during peak hours. During off-peak hours, the buses operated at a frequency of 30 minutes. “We increased the frequency to one every 10 minutes. Then, to further improve patronage, we made buses available every five minutes,’’ the official said.
The DTC said it has a policy to lease out buses to facilitate feeder services. “The aim was to provide feeder services for various organisations functioning on Lodhi Road. But the required ridership was not there. More publicity measures will be undertaken to inform people about the service and these buses might be re-deployed later. The IHC had roped in other organisations and they were all paying a certain amount to help run the service. The IHC had assured us that it would pay the remaining amount if they didn’t break even,’’ a DTC official said. The IHC, however, maintained that it will now wait for feeder services that the Metro is expected to introduce.