The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), which has been unsuccessfully attempting to get new buses since 2008, is going to take another shot at augmenting its fleet, with the AAP government Thursday clearing a proposal to procure 1,000 low-floor AC buses.
The first batch of buses will hit the roads by December, while the procurement process will be completed by May 2020, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced at a press conference at the Delhi Secretariat.
Since 2008, over six tenders floated by DTC have failed owing to issues such as high annual maintenance costs embedded in the bids, and more recently, litigation by disability rights activists against the proposal to buy standard-floor buses.
To overcome the potential hurdle, the DTC will call separate tenders for comprehensive Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) this time around, senior officials said. The AMC clauses for the existing buses are valid for 12 years, and in most cases, are about to expire.
DTC’s original proposal, which was cleared by its board, was to buy 500 AC and 500 non-AC buses, according to DTC sources.
Sisodia also touched upon the issue of DTC’s depleting fleet over the years. “The DTC has failed to augment its fleet over the last eight to nine years,” he said.
He claimed that the city’s public bus fleet will increase to 9,500 by May 2020, after taking into account the procurement of cluster buses.
However, DTC sources said this is unlikely as hundreds of its operational buses will be scrapped. The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority recently told the Supreme Court that at the current rate, induction of buses would not keep up with the requirement of buses or the speed of replacement that is needed.
Delhi currently has around 3,600 DTC buses and 1,679 orange cluster buses. However, the city is short of the Supreme Court-mandated requirement of 11,000 buses.
The Cabinet also approved a proposal to issue work orders to successful bidders of 650 low-floor AC buses to be added to cluster-bus fleet run by the DIMTS (Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System Ltd). Later, another 350 buses will be added.
“Work will be awarded in 15 days. The tender for the remaining 350 buses will be opened on July 19. These 1,000 low-floor cluster buses will start coming from December 2019 in batches of 165 every month and will be completed by April 2020. The delivery of 1,000 standard floor cluster buses will be completed by December,” Sisodia said.
Meanwhile, the tender for 1,000 electric buses, which has been completed, will be opened on August 2. The e-buses would start hitting the roads from January 2020, Sisodia said.