Commuting in Capital
Delhi is amongst the most populous cities in the world with a density of approximately 6,000 persons per square kilometre. More than half of the population in Delhi is dependent on local transport for commuting purposes. It is virtually fact that Delhi Transport bus and Metro Trains are the lifeline of the capital City.
In the Capital City, public transport in the metropolis includes the Delhi Metro, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus system, auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws, e-rickshaws, grameen seva and taxis.
With the introduction of Delhi Metro, a rail-based mass rapid transit system, rail-based transit systems have gained ground. Other means of transit include suburban railways, inter-state bus services and private taxis which can be rented for various purposes. However, buses continue to be the most popular means of transportation for intra-city travel, catering to about 60 per cent of the total commuting requirements.
Delhi Transport Commission runs buses on road about 4,461 fleet, aided by 1,490 cluster buses being operated by the Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System (DIMTS).
While the Congress-led Sheila government had claimed in the affidavit that by 2010 it would have acquired the 11,000 buses required by the city. But the Delhi government has not added a single new bus to the fleet run by the Delhi Transport Corporation in four years. The Transport Department tried to procure new buses since 2012-2013, but there were no successful bidders, in part because few manufacturers make vehicles that meet the ministry of urban development’s design code and specifications.
On the other hand, DTC’s fleet strength has been slipping by the month. Not only is it scrapping the old standard floor buses, but also others that have completed the stipulated kilometre norm. In 2015, 2,100 aging buses were discharged, leaving just 4,461 buses in DTC depots. Among the 4,461 are 680 standard-floor buses. These are nearing their lifespan and scheduled to be scrapped soon.
In 2011-2012, DTC had 6,084 buses, perhaps the highest it ever had in its fleet. By 2012-2013, this had come down to 5,609 and then to 5,341 in 2013-2014, before being let today with just 2,506 non-AC and 12,75 AC low floor buses, of course, the 680 earmarked for elimination.
During odd-even 1-15 January the Supreme Court had asked Delhi government to increase the number of buses it is plying to 10,000 and ensure their proper maintenance in order to improve the public transportation system.
According to Transport Department’s sources, the Delhi government has not any step for implementation of the order and, as a result, public transport is in a “poor state of affairs”. After the Supreme Court orders, Delhi government has planned to add 3,000 new buses this year and introduce premium buses for the well-off class to augment public transport as it wants to implement the odd-even car-rationing at regular intervals.
Transport minister Gopal Rai said that as per the plan, 1,000 buses to be run under cluster system will ply on roads from April-May while 1,000 air-conditioned low-floor buses will hit the streets from September.
“Under ‘Premium Bus Service’, we will run 1,000 buses by the end of this year. These buses will have AC, water, magazine, marshals, wi-fi and other facilities,” Rai told reporters here. Delhi government will start the premium service for the higher-income group class, most of whom use cars to go to office. The fares of this service will be higher in comparison to normal bus service, he said.
“These buses will ply only on selected routes where the elite class is residing and working. They can also book their seats in these buses online,” Rai said.
Giving details about the 1,000 cluster buses, Rai said that a cabinet note has been prepared in this regard and it will be cleared by the cabinet next week,” the minister said.
“Government has decided to run 1,000 AC low-floor buses on PPP model. DTC will operate these buses. 1,000 AC buses will start coming on roads from July this year,” Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai confirmed. The RITES has estimated that buses can help to meet at least 73 per cent of the target. Buses allow greater flexibility, geographical coverage, cost effectiveness, and easily meet the needs of charges in demography and land use. The master plan of Delhi 2021 has set a target of 80 per cent public transport share by 2020. Till now, not a single bus was added to the DTC fleet and plans to indirect 3,000 buses in fleet, has remained largely on paper.
Delhi Metro Train Services:
The Delhi Metro Train service is the single largest mode of public Transpoort between Delhi and the NCR. The Delhi government, which is a shareholder in DMRC, runs 213 kilometre and covers 160 stations on six routes. Delhi Metro usually runs around 221 traina every day, making 2,827 trips daily. But in January, metro increased frequency to cope with the higher demand during the road-rationing on 1-15 january and so the number of trips escalted to 3,192. While ridership went up, their were fewer complaints of overcrowding. “The induction of the 340 coaches might help, but the needs are already stretched. Three trains are currently being converted from four-coach trains to six coach ones on Line-6 (ITO to Escorts Mujesar and a four coach train is shortly scheduled to be inducted on Line-5 (Inder Lok to Mundaka),” said DMRC officials.
In last odd-even implementation processes, DMRC has expressed inability to increase the frequency of trains during peak hours, saying it would require heavy investments. Presently, Delhi Metro, which ferried nearly 31 lakh passengers a day during the operation of the car rationing scheme here, will augment its service further to carry over 45 lakh commuters by 2017 end.
That metro would add 420 more coachs in its existing trains, now having 1,282 coaches, as a result of which its capacity would grow, when additionally, 486 more coaches would get added when new lines under phase-III, which would add another 110 km of metro line 2016-2017, would get ope rationalised, further easing the situation.
Metro Feeder Bus System:
There are just 269 buses in the feeder bus system, though the DMRC did place an order for 400 buses in 2014. While mushrooming growth of e-rickshaws, gramin seva and cycle rickshaws evade the base of feeder services, a proper system could be actually more needed. In Delhi in 2014-2015 to take the total registered cars up to 28 lakh and fleet of over 1,00,000 auto-rickshaws.
Ring Railway System:
After announcement of Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, the revival of Ring railway is a new hope in transportation system in Delhi. Neglected by both people of the city and the Railways, the circular line, which could have served as an alternative mode of transport for Delhi, has been dying a slow death. The Ring railway line, which starts from the Hazrat Nizamuddin station, ends its full circle at the same station after traversing a distance of 35 km with halts at 21 stations along the route. The railways currently operates five trains in the clockwise direction and an equal number of trains in the anti-clockwise direction from the Hazrat Nizamuddin station in south Delhi. The Ring railway line was laid in 1975 as the Delhi Avoiding Line, primarily to service freight trains and provide relief to the heavily congested Delhi main route – New Delhi and Old Delhi line. This line was, however, upgraded during the 1982 Asian Games to facilitate the movement of spectators and since then, local train services have been operating on this route.
“This line has a capacity of 74 trains, but currently, we are operating 94 trains and the route is stretched to the limit. The existing infrastructure cannot be utilised for more passenger trains without reducing the freight capacity as that would cause huge losses to the railways,” said a senior officials of railway.