New Delhi, The Delhi government on Thursday decided to run 6,000 more buses to shore up the public transport to dispel the fear of it collapsing in the face of 15-day traffic rationing which kicks in from January 1.
However, the Supreme Court observed that a multi-pronged policy rather than ad hoc steps was needed to curb the soaring air pollution in the capital.
To contain the menace, the Delhi government decided that private vehicles with odd and even registration numbers will ply on odd and even dates respectively from January 1.
“Four thousand contract carriage buses and 2,000 CNG school buses will be used as public transport from January 1 to 15,” Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai told the media.
“So 6,000 additional buses will be added to the existing 6,000 DTC and cluster buses,” he said.
One of the main criticisms of the odd-even formula has been the lack of adequate number of public vehicles that can accommodate those who will not be able to use their vehicles in the first fortnight of January.
Rai said 50 percent of all seats in the 2,000 CNG school buses — buses which lie mostly idle except when they transport school students twice a day — will be for women.
The routes of these additional 6,000 buses will be determined by the Delhi Transport Corporation.
A Supreme Court Bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice R. Banumathi lamented that it was embarrassing for them to tell a visting judge of the International Court of Justice about the degrading air in the capital.
“The absence of a policy (to tackle with the growing air pollution) reflects on our ability to cope with this problem,” said the bench.
Addressing the media, Rai said a mobile application ‘Puchho App’ (You Ask) will be launched to help commuters locate the nearest auto-rickshaw. This will be launched by December 25.
He also the city government was in talks with Indian Railways to increase the frequency of local trains from neighbouring Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Rai said the Delhi Metro has also assured that it would increase the frequency of its trains during that period.
The curbs will apply between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. while all private vehicles would ply on Sunday.