Delhi can be a nightmare, especially in the rainy season.
On Sunday, I was travelling with my friend in her car. From Peeragarhi, we were headed towards Rajouri Garden. I normally travel by metro and bus, whichever is available and convenient, but I made an exception on Sunday since it was raining quite heavily.
We had crossed the mid-way mark without much traffic. I silently wished for all days of the week to be this quiet and traffic-free. I guess I wished a little too early.
Without warning, the seamless flow of traffic began to slow down. In the next two minutes, the traffic had come to a standstill. Upon investigation, it was discovered that a DTC bus had broken down in the middle of the road. Horns blared all around and people manifested their impatience by unnecessarily getting hyper and abusive to each other.
There was total chaos and I cursed the DTC bus for blocking my path. I understand it had broken down, the driver couldn’t help, but why do these behemoths on the road keep breaking down daily?
After a hassle-filled hour, we finally moved. While passing by the dead bus, I was shocked at the sight of the rusting machine. The DTC bus looked 100 years old! The body of the bus was falling to pieces, the tyres had no tread, windows were broken, and there was no door.
The bus in front of my eyes was sick and needed to be de-commissioned.
The pathetic condition of Delhi’s public transport – the Delhi Transport Corporation – was an eye-opener. I have hardly travelled in buses. I mostly take the metro. It was shocking discovery, one that motivated me to write about it.
Over 400 Delhi Transport Corporation buses break down every day. Heavy rains in the monsoon are DTC’s worst nightmare. Water logging and the resulting traffic woes damage the smooth operations of the bus. The DTC suffers a whopping two crore loss everyday due to so many
A huge loss of INR 2 crore is suffered by Delhi daily due to this regular collapse.
In summers, the conditions are worse! On an average, 600-700 buses break down each day when the temperature is in the mid-40s. The engines get over-heated and the bus collapses.
Around 60% of the commuting requirements are met by DTC buses because of low fare. But if the conditions don’t drastically improve, the passengers will start looking for alternative mode of transport.
DTC maintenance is done by the manufacturer himself, or through an authorised agent of the manufacturer. In the current setup, both Tata and Ashok Leyland are responsible for the maintenance. It is clearly visible how shoddy a job they have been doing.
Tata has been billing exorbitant maintenance charges, but the corresponding service provided has been much below standard. Tatas have even been fined for cheating the Government, for not keeping the DTCs healthy and in fine working condition.
Due to breakdown and low maintenance, out of 5,500, only 4,700 buses ply the roads of Delhi.
The breakdown of buses creates traffic jams not just on the arterial roads. Many traffic advisories issued by the traffic police on Twitter suggest that most of the breakdowns happened on the busy Ring Road.
Over three dozen traffic advisories issued by the Delhi Traffic Police in the recent pertain to congestion due to the breakdown of the state-run buses. I saw how painstaking it was for the traffic cops to haul the broken down, low-floor DTC buses off the road. The buses can’t be towed away by traffic police cranes because of pneumatic and hydraulic control supporting them.
Delhi needs an efficient public transport system. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi must pay attention to this lifeline of Delhi!