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Low-floor, electric feeder buses to end your last-mile discomfort

Low-floor, electric feeder buses to end your last-mile discomfort

New Delhi:

The rickety feeder bus service of Delhi Metro will soon be replaced by a fleet of low-floor air-conditioned buses, all of which will be electric-run. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had earlier planned to induct both CNG and electric buses for its feeder service, but after being unable to find low-floor CNG mini buses, it has decided to go for an all-electric fleet.

The company has been planning a major overhaul of its feeder services and had last year floated tenders to introduce AC feeder buses that will be electric and CNGrun. By then, however, Delhi government’s state transport authority had formed a committee to look into the issue of providing disable-friendly amenities on all buses operating in the city, including the metro feeder buses. As a result, DMRC had to float fresh tenders in October last year with a new clause which specified that the buses should be low-floor and disabled-friendly.

“DMRC has submitted the application for necessary approvals, including viability gap funding for feeder buses,” a transport department official said. “Approval for the funding is possible only after processing a cabinet note, which might take a while,” he added.

The corporation has submitted a proposal for procuring 422 low-floor feeder buses, which would be divided into five clusters — East, West, North, South and Central clusters — to operate on the 47 routes that have been approved by the STA. “These buses will be procured, operated and maintained by a private party, while DMRC would provide supporting infrastructure such as depots for charging the buses,” the official said.

The proposed depots will be created at Punjabi Bagh, Shadipur, Nangloi, INA, Mohan Estate, Jhilmil, Shastri Park, Majlis Park, Kohat Enclave and Kashmere Gate.

The electric midi buses will have a low-floor height of 400mm and can accommodate 16 to 22 passengers. At present, DMRC’s feeder buses are rickety with a fleet size of 269 — way short of the demand.

The new buses will also have GPS and CCTV cameras but no conductors as commuters will be able to travel using their metro smart cards. With only smart card holders allowed on the buses, DMRC will ensure that only metro commuters are using the service.