Millennium Post

Public buses

The people of Delhi have resorted to personal transportation to such an extent that the national capital today has become one of the most polluted cities in the country. The Delhi government, led by Arvind Kejriwal, hence, faces one of the biggest challenges at hand to clean the world’s most polluted city. In an attempt to get there, the government announced the addition of 6000 public buses to be activated together in order to balance out the odd-even public transportation system. However, the Delhi government must ensure that the city does not end up with unregulated private buses returning to the city roads in the name of augmenting DTC services. Without a long-term vision and plan to augment city’s public transport service, the Delhi government with such knee jerk policy initiatives can only invite a bigger crisis. What’s worse, research states that the people from the capital city have buses as their least preferred mode of transport.  According to a recent study conducted by IndiaSpend, a data journalism platform, daily passenger ridership on Delhi Transport Corporation buses declined 11 percent in 2014-15 over the previous year, and the number of buses has declined 24 percent over the past five years, from 6204 in 2010-11 to 4712 in 2014-15. The study further states that the reason for the decline in the use of buses is primary because of the increase of private vehicles. Current statistics states that the Delhi busses are carrying about 3.8 million passengers daily over a stretch of 7.8 kilometres. Suffice to say, buses do not even cover close to 1/3rd of the total population. The Delhi metro stands as biggest competition to the newly planned bus services. It stretches across seven lines with a total distance of 187 kilometres. It is also known to carry an average of 2.7 million passengers per day. The construction of the metro is in its third phase, after which there will be an extension of about 117 kilometres of metro tracks.

Despite vast services, the Delhi metro does not reach a number of destinations, causing extreme inconveniences with inadequate services to the passengers within the city. Delhi is also reported to have a total of 8.8 million registered vehicles, which is growing at a steady 6 percent on a yearly basis. This is not only a 6 percent growth in vehicles but also an equivalent growth in the amount of pollution leading to an adverse future. Earlier this year, the AAP government had dismantled the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. Suffice to say, there were design and logistical problems. But the larger issue was of implementing the rules pertaining to the BRT system. With the BRT system dismantled, the next other measures the AAP government can take. Besides broken seats and windows, minimal access for the disabled and no space to stow luggage, overcrowding in the Delhi Transport Corporation buses is a major concern. Those who do take the bus do it out of sheer necessity.  These basic features need to be repaired in existing buses before the AAP government orders another 6,000 units. Moreover, with the advent of GPS and the smartphone, the authorities could establish a system, whereby commuters receive second-by-second updates about time of arrival, disruptions, accidents and delays.
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