Soon, driverless electric buses along metro lines
New Delhi: After a wait of nearly seven years since the last batch of power bus was put into service, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has received its first batch of 25 fully electric power buses with a automatic fare collection integrated – a first in the country – last week.
The DMRC plans to install a total of 100 low-floor, air-conditioned electric buses, of which the first batch of 25 buses have undergone the necessary fitness tests conducted by the state Department of Transportation and are expected to launch next month. . The remaining 75 buses will be phased in over the course of this year, a DMRC spokesperson said. DMRC installed the latest series of power bus in 2014-15.
âThese buses can also operate without a driver. They have machines where you just have to press the Metro smart card and the price will be deducted automatically. A receipt will then be generated. Passengers will have to swipe the card twice – upon entry and exit – to detect the journey time and calculate the fare so that the amount can be automatically deducted, âTransport Minister Kailash Gahlot said.
DMRC currently has 174 CNG power buses, operated by private concessionaires, on approximately 20 routes to provide last mile connectivity in areas such as Dwarka, Azadpur and Badarpur. With the arrival of the 100 new buses, DMRC will have 274 refueling buses running on approximately 30 routes. Officials said they were working to resume power bus services that were shut down during the lockdown.
DMRC executive director Anuj Dayal said the new buses have a capacity of 24 passengers. âThey will operate on 10 routes spanning 14 metro stations to improve last mile connectivity. The buses follow all city bus specifications and are also equipped with GPS, CCTV cameras, panic buttons, etc. There will also be a digital passenger information system, âhe said.
Officials say the 100 e-buses will be operated by two operators in the north and east clusters. Northern Group routes include Majlis Park Metro Station to Jagat Puri and Burari Village, Jahangirpuri Station to Bhalswa Block D, Azadpur Station to Shalimar Bagh Station, and Shalimar Bagh Station to Netaji Subhash Place Station. East group routes will be Trilokpuri station to Mayur Vihar Ph-III and also Mandawali, Anand Vihar ISBT metro station to Karkarduma station, Shastri Park station to Gokulpuri station and Mother Dairy near Laxmi Nagar.
Meanwhile, a Metro official, on condition of anonymity, expressed apprehension about the sustainability of the car fare deduction system on buses. âThe new electric buses are the first in the country to have this functionality, although this concept is widely used in other countries. It remains to be seen whether people cooperate, honestly swipe their cards and don’t damage the machines. In Delhi Metro this (automatic fare deduction using smart cards) lasted because it is a closed system, but the buses are much more public and accessible as people get on and off. We are trying to make it work; tests in extreme circumstances are currently underway, âsaid the person in charge of the metro.