The fast-growing population of Delhi is in need of 11,000 buses. The Delhi Government informed the Supreme Court that its efforts had been hindered by the non-availability of land depots and repeated failure of tenders for procurement of the buses. It said only 5,554 CNG buses: 1,275 low floor AC buses, 2,506 low floor non-AC buses, 101 green standard floor non-Ac buses and 1,672 orange standard low floor buses plying on its roads. Last year, the Delhi government had approved the proposal to procure 2,000 buses which were to be standard-floor buses.
Population growth and increasing urbanization have led to the Capital’s rapid growth, leaving Delhi overwhelmed by demand for public transport. Unable to afford personal transport, many of the poor spend up to three to four hours a day just to travel back and forth.
Research shows that concentration of the wealth among the economic and political elite has distorted the transport policies. And it is a fact that government policies generally focus on the needs of the elite minority. Public transport does not get the funding or traffic priority it needs because the elite does not use it.
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Delhi’s roads suffer from worse congestion, delay, pollution and accidents than cities in the industrialized world. Experts say that most public policies in India encourage sprawl. The policy should be designed in such a way that it reduces the need to travel by personalized modes, and boosts the bus transport system. The respective authorities should enhance the quality as well as the number of public transport services. They should initiate investments in the maintenance of the public vehicles and the safety of the users. The government should be mindful that movement in and between cities is crucial for the improved quality of life, it is a major contributor to economic growth.
To control the public transport crisis, local governments, state and the central government should work together. For a change, they should put the people first and address the problem.