Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has now decided to opt for semi low-floor,non-AC buses in its bid to add to the fleet of public transport in the city. According to officials,maintenance of semi low-floor buses is much easier and high maintenance costs for low-floor buses had proved to be a deterrent for manufacturers to participate in the bidding process.
DTC is looking to procure 1,380 of these buses that have a floor height of 900 mm,as compared to 400 mm for low-floor buses. Most of the orange cluster buses are semi low-floor.
However,DTC will continue to procure low-floor AC buses,as seen in the tender floated before the model code of conduct came into effect. It invited firms to bid for the manufacture of 345 AC buses.
DTC said manufactures from China and Poland have participated in the pre-bid process. We have decided to go for tenders to procure 1,380 semi-low floor non-AC buses and 345 low-floor AC buses. Several companies came forward in the pre-bidding process,which included Tata,Ashok Leyland,Volvo,Corona Bus Manufacturers Pvt Ltd,JBM,a company from China named Xiamen King Long,and Solaris from Poland, DTCs senior PR manager R S Minhas said. These buses also work better than low-floor variants in rural areas,DTC said.
Around 6,000 buses are operating in the city,which include 1,275 low-floor AC buses,2,506 non-AC buses and 1,657 standard buses,besides over 600 buses plying under the cluster scheme.
DTC has been trying to replace its fleet of 1,625 old buses for a while now,but received a poor response to earlier tenders for low-floor buses. This is the fifth time that DTC has initiated the bidding process for procurement of 1,725 buses. Tata was the only firm to bid for the contract in DTCs previous tender. Negotiations collapsed as DTC found the prices quoted to be unreasonable around 50 per cent higher for buses and 20 times the current cost for maintenance.
The final bids are likely to be opened by December 3 and scrutiny will take another three to four months. The new buses will only start operating by April 2014, an official said.
According to DTC officials,several companies participating in the pre-bid process had asked for waiving fines paid by them as part of the annual maintenance contract. To bring down the maintenance cost for buses,manufacturers had asked for waiving fines charged for breakdowns,etc. Nothing has been done about it as of now, the official said.