Friday, October 2, 2009

New DTC Buses to be equipped with laptop and Mobile Chargers and Better Climate Control systems

On Sunday, about 70 more new lowfloor buses will be inducted into the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) fleet. And after this, the corporation will get nearly 200 buses every month till March next year by when about 3,100 new buses would be added to Delhi roads.

The new buses are a part of DTC’s second order, of which some are being manufactured at a Ashok Leyland plant at Alwar. The new models promise a smoother ride as they have added features for passenger comfort like more windows and shafts for ventilation, mobile and laptop charging points, climate control and heating in winters in the AC fleet and more seats.

As the first lot of buses is inducted into the fleet, the apprehension on whether the new buses will be delivered at all before the Games seems to be fading away. The first lot primarily has buses manufactured by Tata Motors, which is a major chunk of the DTC order. But the other manufacturer, Ashok Leyland, is also ready with their supplies.

‘‘Now, one can expect about 200 new buses to come every month. The orders will be completed by March 2010 when the Bharat Stage IV emission norms come into effect. Any delivery after that will have to be modified according to the new standards, which is an added cost for the manufacturer,’’ said a senior official.

A visit to the bus manufacturing facility of Ashok Leyland in Alwar gives an insight into how fast the orders are progressing. The state-ofthe-art plant, which has several buses on the assembly line, is now going to roll out 10 low-floor buses everyday till the order is complete.

This order for 875 buses, including 350 airconditioned ones, were to be supplied to DTC by March this year. But the first lot of 50 buses is ready for rollout from the plant now.

‘‘We have sent the first ready bus to DTC, which has been approved. The formalities for registration and other things are being worked out soon after which the remaining buses will also be delivered,’’ said Rajeev Seharia, executive director (Marketing), Ashok Leyland.

He added that the reason for the delay was that after the tender, DTC made a lot of changes to the bus specifications and manner of execution. ‘‘The entire development was partnered with DTC and there was a learning curve on both sides. As for a penalty for late supply, the matter will be taken up with DTC at the right time as we are looking at a long association with them now,’’ he added. But now that the first lot is ready, the company is confident of delivering before March 2010. Each of AC buses will cost Rs 59.3 lakh and the non-AC buses Rs 49.9 lakh.

As per the new contract, the buses will be maintained by the companies too and DTC has asked for an assurance of a breakdown rate of maximum 5% at any time. The new buses will have all the features of the existing fleet. The corporation has tried to address failings in the existing 625 buses, where passengers have complained of lack of ventilation and also that the AC is not that effective during peak summer. In the new lot, the windows are larger and even the upper portion opens. Also, extra roof hatchets have been provided on the roof which can be opened for better air circulation.

The AC buses have climate control which will ensure a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius in the bus even when it is very hot. These buses will also have heaters in winters. Passengers can even charge their laptops and cellphones inside the buses. The buses also have stop request buzzers. For added safety, the front windscreen is bigger to ensure better visibility and reflective tapes on the sides of the buses to make them visible even at night.

Ready for Rollout

  1. Total number of buses being procured by Delhi Transport Corporation 3,125
  2. Ashok Leyland will supply 875 buses & Tata Motors 2,250
  3. Till March 2009, Delhi Transport Corporation will get around 200 buses every month

How the new bus is different

  1. No of seats increased to 35 Better ventilation through bigger windows and roof hatches
  2. Climate control in AC buses to keep temperature of 25°C Laptop and mobile phone charging points
  3. Breakdown rate of just 5% Display panels on sides of bus indicating final destination
  4. Wider windscreen