For the first time, the entire bus fleet operated by the DTC has been declared “surplus” | Latest Delhi News
The entire fleet of 3,760 buses operated by Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) was officially declared ‘surplus’ this year, a first in the history of the public transport company, established in 1971, according to data consulted. and analyzed by HT. .
The data also showed that 99% of the fleet exceeded the technical operational limit for CNG low-floor buses. The DTC qualifies a bus as “surplus” after a journey of more than eight years. In accordance with the supply contracts under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the maximum operational life of a low-floor CNG bus is 12 years or 750,000 km, depending on the last possibility.
Of the 3,760 buses in total, none of them are still 6-8 years old. At least 32 of the buses are between 8 and 10 years old, 3,072 are between 10 and 12 years old and 656 are over 12 years old. The number is alarming given that the city needs 11,000 buses, according to a government affidavit submitted to the High Court in 2018, and the DTC itself is mandated to have 5,500 buses.
Even if the 2,990 cluster buses, which are operated by private operators, are included, the current strength of Delhi state-run buses is only 6,750.
Delhi Transport Minister and DTC Chairman Kailash Gahlot said the issue had been discussed at length at recent meetings of the company’s board of directors.
“Yes, that’s true, and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also expressed concern that our state-run buses are the lifeline of Delhi’s public transport. Our DTC and cluster buses together carry at least one million more passengers than the Delhi metro every day, so we have planned a revival of the DTC by pumping out 1,300 new buses over the next seven months, ”he said.
It was difficult for the DTC to obtain a tender for the purchase of buses. The files consulted by HT showed that the last time the DTC finalized a call for tenders was in 2008, and that the buses in this call for tenders continued to arrive in small batches until October 2011. After that, DTC issued five tenders between 2013 and 2019, but none of them could be executed either due to an unreasonable Full Annual Maintenance Contract (CAMC) or due to ‘a lack of bidders. It was finally in 2020 that a tender for 1,000 low-floor AC CNG buses was finalized with two bidders obtaining the contract in a 70:30 report.
However, allegations of irregularities within CAMC indefinitely delayed the acquisition of 1,000 low-floor AC CNG buses. An inquiry committee appointed by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal gave unequivocal advice to the DTC on the bidding and purchase of the buses. The three-member panel, however, recommended launching new tenders for its AMC on what it described as “procedural failings” resulting from “good faith decision-making”.
Gahlot said, “DTC and I have personally worked for months to make this tender a success. This is the biggest achievement of the DTC in 12 years, because all previous tenders for buses kept failing … We hope that of the 1,300 buses, at least 300 buses electrics for which the work order was issued in March this year, will not be blocked. People need more buses and this has been reiterated not only by the Delhi government but also by the Supreme Court and the High Court. “
Once the buses have reached their lifespan, they are ideally supposed to be scrapped. However, records showed that due to the lack of new buses, the DTC was forced to operate all of these buses. No buses were scrapped during the current fiscal year and only two buses were scrapped in 2020-21. In 2019-2020, 80 buses were taken out of operation due to age-related maintenance issues. Between 2011 and 2017, 368 buses were scrapped on average each year with 2,209 vehicles withdrawn during this period.
But running old buses increases maintenance costs.
DTC chief executive Vijay Bidhuri said the situation was so precarious that the company urged the National Transport Authority (STA) to allow its buses to run until the age of 15. “There was no other way but to get them to run past their prescribed age. Fortunately, STA has now allowed us to operate DTC buses until they turn 15 years old. But, this is only a temporary arrangement. He gave us 2-3 years maximum to replace our entire fleet. We need to add new buses to the DTC fleet as our expenses for maintaining these old buses are also increasing. Even though we use outdated buses, we cannot compromise on safety and have to keep the buses in the best possible condition, which is an expensive business, ”he said.
This age of DTC buses has also started to reflect on its operational statistics. In 2015-2016, the DTC previously made 33,497 trips per day, which has now grown to around 30,000 trips on average per day.
DTC’s annual internal audits have also shown that an over-aged fleet is a key factor in low productivity. In addition, the number of breakdowns has increased as the entire fleet is made up of low-floor buses as mandated by the High Court and the Supreme Court to make public transport more accessible to people with disabilities. Low-floor buses have lower ground clearance, which makes them more vulnerable to breakdowns, especially when the roads are poor or flooded.
Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director of CSE and Head of Research and Advocacy, said that with 100% of DTC’s fleet being ‘obsolete’, the actual increase in the size of Delhi’s bus fleet has been very small. . “About 700 new buses have been added since 2019 in Delhi, but this is only as part of the cluster system. The DTC continues to operate with older buses, effectively reversing the increase in the city’s bus fleet as 56% of it is DTC buses. Obviously, Delhi still needs many more buses to meet the 11,000 bus requirements prescribed in the Delhi Government’s Route Rationalization Study, and also to meet the growing demand, ”he said. she declared.