As the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) faces several commuter complaints about irregular bus schedules and shortage of buses, it continues to give buses on rent to private parties and government bodies.
Every day, buses from its 4,500-odd fleet are rented out on special rates for several hours, as part of the DTC’s ‘special hire service’.
The service also happens to be the only profit-making operation of the cash-strapped corporation.
Many schools across Delhi — 64 private and 24 government ones — hire over 700 buses every day to ferry their students. In September alone, the DTC earned Rs 4.32 crore from these schools.
“The buses make one trip in the morning and one in the afternoon. After their morning trip to these schools, DTC buses ply on their usual routes till noon. They once again make a round in the afternoon to these schools before going back to their routes. On any given day, they spend nearly four hours on school trips,” said an official who works in the DTC headquarters.
The Delhi Police also rents a large number of DTC buses; in November, the Delhi Police’s First Battalion had hired 60 buses for the entire month.
Some of the other prominent consumers of the ‘special hire service’ category are the Khadi Village Commission, the Association for Performing Arts and Normative Action, S F Enterprises, the STA and Carmel Convent School.
“We are obliged to rent out buses to the police and to political parties. We also rent out buses for government functions; on Yoga Day, 400 DTC buses were rented out to ferry participants. Film crews also hire our buses when they have shoots in Delhi,” said the official.
Though there are thousands of private bus services in Delhi, DTC buses remain in demand because of their comparatively reasonable rates.
“This is the only profit-making venture of the DTC. It is the only buffer we have against the huge losses we incur everyday. Though profit-making is not our motive, this is a small venture which does well,” said the official. DTC Chairman C R Garg refused to comment on the issue.