Delhi Govt Allows App-Based Premium Bus Services to Operate From June 1
The pollution in Delhi-NCR is terrifying and the Government took some steps to curb it, but a mere 15-day policy cannot alter the damage done for the past 15+ years. Taking small steps to ease the residents off of pollution, the Delhi Government has released an official statement for allowing app-based premium bus services to operate in Delhi.
App-based bus services like Ola Shuttle and Shuttl started off with an idea to provide transportation to people from Delhi to NCR regions and back at low costs. Sadly the services were suspended for not having the legit permits to operate them. The Government has thought about it and has come with a fully devised plan for the same.
The policy will be effective from 1st June to permit app-based premium bus services to operate in the city. Users will be able to book their seats for their chosen destination from these apps and help reduce carbon footprints.
Unlike DTC buses, these premium bus services will have defined routes and timings which will be available to the public beforehand. This will also allow the bus aggregators to increase the bus count on particular heavy traffic routes.
Summary of the Government’s directive
In a detailed 6 page notification from the Delhi Government, the app-based premium bus services will have to be air conditioned, and to get a license from the Government, the bus aggregator will have to maintain a fleet of at least 50 buses.
1) No bus will be attached to more than 3 premium bus aggregators and an IT-based passenger aggregators must have a good platform for the service to exist. The prices will be determined by the aggregators and Government will not have a say in that yet, but the Government can get involved in extreme cases to cap the fares.
2) The route fares will be collected electronically via digital payments only. This is a positive step to enforce electronic and cashless payments for commuters.
3) The passenger list will be furnished by 5 minutes before the departure of the bus, along with the route details and the driver details on the app. Further booking of passengers will be frozen there on to disable overbooking of buses and unnecessary inconvenience to the passengers.
4) No passenger will be allowed on these buses if he/she has not registered for the route. The app platforms will have a complaint-lodging system to allow passengers to give feedback as well as aware the Government and the bus service in case of any mishap or violence.
5) Women safety is top priority for the Government right now and the cab aggregators must follow safety guidelines to equip themselves with a rapid response mechanism and a panic button on the app in case of emergencies.
6) The bus service must not be cancelled after confirmation of bookings. In case of any breakdown or force majeure, the bus aggregator must provide an alternative transport lorry to these passengers. Failure to do so will result in refunding at least twice of the decided fare.
7) In case the trip is cancelled because of reasons other than breakdown or force majeure, the bus service will have to pay 10 times the amount of the fare to the passenger. This seems very harsh for the bus aggregators considering the traffic in Delhi is not in anyone’s hand.
8) The buses will have to be equipped with CCTV cameras which can hold recordings for at least past thirty days of activity.
9) The Government has also made it mandatory for the bus aggregator to provide free WiFi on the buses to passengers for their journey. This is definitely a good policy to have in place! Woohoo!
Other points mandated by the Government list down the documents required by the passenger aggregators and what all needs to be maintained by them at all times. The buses also have to be CNG and can attract huge fines in case of any misconduct or violation of rules.
Certain conditions seem very harsh for these services, because a lot of money is being shelled out to have a fleet of 50 buses and over and above that a lot of cash has to be refunded in case of any cancellations.
However, these will benefit bus users in the long term once the whole process smoothens out and more passengers start using this option of commuting. It could pose a little threat to Uber and Ola during office rush hours, but it will definitely help reduce pollution in the city by marginal volumes.
The Government in NCT is known to be quite harsh on cab aggregators in the city and strictness is needed to honour law and justice in India. We hope bus aggregators do not find loopholes in this policy to extract juice from the passengers and they follow rules as per the Government’s notification.
Source: Delhi Government’s notification