No mercy for Bluelines, they will go, says Dikshit

New Delhi, Oct 26 (Calcutta Tube) Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit made it clear Tuesday that her government was determined to banish Blueline buses from December and blamed the private fleet for its impending fate.

Speaking a day after her government finally decided to do away with a service blamed for hundreds of deaths on the roads, she said there would be no going back on the transport department’s decision.

She said the Blueline buses had been involved in too many accidents and the government would not let them to continue.

‘The Blueline buses alone are to be blamed for (our) decision. They forced us to make the decision. We cannot allow them to continue,’ the chief minister told reporters.

Private buses were introduced in Delhi in 1992, ending the long-time monopoly of the state-owned Delhi Transport Corp (DTC). Originally called Red Line, the fleet was renamed Blueline after the former quickly got branded as ‘killer buses’.

But the Bluelines fared no better, killing hundreds on the roads due to reckless driving by drivers who were both underpaid and overworked.

They were taken off large parts of the city for the first time during the Commonwealth Games this month. The buses began returning in small numbers Oct 20, about a week after the Games ended.

But within days one of the buses was involved in yet another fatal accident, sparking anger and sealing their fate.

Delhi officials say the rapid expansion of the hugely popular Delhi Metro, which ferries around 15 lakh people a day, and the introduction of a large number of low floor DTC buses should be able to meet the demand for a safe and secure public transport system in the city of 16 million.

Dikshit said her government was considering other options too. The coming week, the cabinet would decide the modalities for introducing cluster buses.

Besides, the nearly 350-400 RTV buses will be made mini buses for the commuters so that they do not face problems when the Blueline buses start getting phased out.

There will be no hardships to commuters, she insisted.

‘The DTC is competent enough to provide a punctual, reliable and comfortable public transport system in the city. Also, the Delhi Metro is also available.

‘The transport department has been told to submit a final paper on cluster buses to the cabinet within a week so that an appropriate decision can be taken.’

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