The Delhi government (Aam Aadmi Party) plans to introduce premium private buses in Delhi. According to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi Motor Vehicles Licensing of Aggregator (Premium Buses) Scheme, 2023 proposes an innovative bus service that will let passengers purchase seats via mobile and web apps. He laid out the outlines of a plan to convince car owners to take public transportation.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal stated that the government finalized plans to start a mobile application-based air-conditioned bus service that will motivate office workers to leave their automobiles at home and take public transportation.
Delhi Motor Vehicles Licensing of Aggregator (Premium Buses) Scheme
Kejriwal stated that private aggregators will operate the buses and must seek a license from the Delhi government and pay a license charge. They will receive permission to run only CNG and electric buses under three years old in the premium bus service. Any license fee for the electric buses used in the service will get waived.
Besides, an official has stated that the Delhi government will only permit aggregators to use electric buses after January 1, 2024. Upon receiving a license, each aggregator must operate and maintain a minimum of 50 buses.
The CM said that the aggregator can choose the route and need to inform the state government of the route they will take. Undoubtedly, they will need to run on a route where there’s more activity, and, thus the number of private vehicles on that route will reduce.
There will be no standing passengers on these buses, and the fares will be higher than other transportation owned or run by the state’s Delhi Transport Corporation(DTC). An official also stated that premium bus fares are market-driven, so women will not get free rides.
These premium buses will have WiFi, CCTV, GPS, a panic button, and other amenities. Furthermore, private operators will operate these buses rather than the government.
The chief minister mentioned that after lieutenant governor Vinai Kumar Saxena’s approval, the plan would be available for public comment. He said they are sending the file for the premium bus service scheme to the LG for consideration.
Delhi now has 7,379 public buses including 3319 cluster buses and 4060 DTC buses. Besides, it also has 300 electric buses, operating on over 600 bus routes. Every day, 3.5 million people use the bus service in Delhi. Delhi’s Metro system has 4.5 million daily riders on average. By 2025, the state government wants to double the transportation fleet’s size to 11,000 vehicles and have 80% of electric public buses in Delhi.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) administration has considered implementing such a program in the past. A premium bus scheme was proposed for the first time in May 2016. But LG Najeeb Jung halted it since the elected government did not seek his consent. In 2017 and 2018, the government continued to work on the proposal, yet it failed due to permit concerns.
A scheme for the public
Meanwhile, during the press meeting, Kejriwal said that if the state government wants middle-class and upper-middle-class commuters to use public transportation more frequently, it must make the service “comfortable, safe, and punctual” in the Capital.
Kejriwal further added that the public has the resources to travel daily in their own cars and vehicles. Every day they pay for their fuel. But if offered the choice of a luxurious bus, he said they will choose to leave their cars at home instead.