Cabinet nod to use of standard buses in cluster system

Removing the final obstacle in phasing out of Blueline buses and bringing in the cluster system, the Delhi Cabinet on Wednesday approved the use of standard buses in the cluster system. With this, the cluster system will not have to depend solely on low-floor buses.

The government was forced to take this decision due to a severe shortage of low-floor buses in India only Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland produce these buses. The Capital at present has 950 low-floor buses, including both AC and non-AC. The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is expected to introduce 3,125 low-floor buses by March.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said, "The decision has been taken to overcome the delay in implementation of the cluster scheme."

According to the Cabinet decision, a cluster will have to maintain a ratio of 60:40 between low-floor buses and standard buses.

Earlier, the government had assured the High Court that the cluster bus system will be introduced by March 2009. The first cluster for 30 routes was approved by the Cabinet in May 2009.

In October 2009, the Cabinet had decided to forgo the use of even semi-low floor buses for the clusters as the difference in the cost between a semi-low floor and low-floor bus is only Rs 2.5 lakhs.

The corporatisation model was designed by the Delhi Integrated Multimodal Transit System by dividing 657 bus routes in the city into 17 clusters. The DTC is to run 60 per cent buses in each cluster.

The Cabinet's decision today was also prompted by a High Court hearing on Tuesday. The court had yesterday pulled up the government for stopping the acquisition of other types of buses when there was a shortage of of low-floor buses.

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