Thursday, June 10, 2010

Operators for 16 New Clusters Included But no low-floor buses this time

In what comes as another step forward to put Bluelines off Delhi roads, the transport department has appointed operators for another three of the 16 clusters on which buses will be run by large private operators as a replacement of the Blueline scheme.

The bid prices of the three new clusters have been lesser than what was quoted for the first one. According to sources, the lowest bid for Cluster 2 was Rs 53.38 crore, for Cluster 3 was Rs 50.35 crore, for Cluster 4 was Rs 38.99 crore and for Cluster 5 was Rs 31.48 crore. One of the reasons for this is that the first cluster will have low-floor buses running on all routes while the government has allowed the new operators to bring in standard floor buses, which are cheaper.

Also, the number of buses was reportedly the maximum in Cluster 1 because of which both capital and operational costs are very high. The second cluster will have 232 buses running on 37 routes, Cluster 3 has 182 buses running on 29 routes, Cluster 4 has 148 buses running on 20 routes and Cluster 5 has 120 buses running on 20 routes.

‘‘The clusters have been awarded to Indraprastha Logistics Private Limited, a firm run by a Blueline operator and AB Grain Transport Service Ltd,’’ said sources. The transport department had come out with tenders for the four clusters at one go and the technical bids were opened on May 7.

Before this stage, sources revealed that a total of eight applicants had qualified for the technical evaluations and included for the price bid. These included four collectives of Blueline operators Govardhan Transport, Manko Bus Service, City Life Buses and Indraprastha Logistics Limited (IPL), in addition to AB Grain Transport Service, Beatle India, DNA, and Quick Bus Service.

The first cluster has already been awarded to Star Bus Private Limited, in which a majority stake is owned by Spice Jet MD Ajay Singh. The operator is expected to have service running before the Commonwealth Games as he was given six months to procure buses and set up systems like a Global Positioning System (GPS) control room, bus staff, etc. The first cluster will see 231 new buses running on 32 routes which mainly crisscross south Delhi areas.