Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bluelines go off CWG routes, city breathes easy

With Bluelines off central Delhi roads from Sunday, driving through the heart of the city was a breeze. As motorists rejoiced not having "killer" Bluelines for company, bus commuters didn't seem to miss them either as an added number of DTC buses were deployed on the routes as replacements. But the real effect of the phase out will be seen on Monday when the full commuter rush resumes.

Those on the roads felt driving was a real pleasure in the absence of pressure horns and Bluelines racing past. The roads too, wore a bare look. "It reminded me of the days of the Blueline strike. Even at the busy ITO bus stop, not a single Blueline was visible. The buses should be taken off all the roads now," said Ramesh Krishnan, a resident of Daryaganj.

Some commuters, however, said that getting to work on Monday might prove to be a bit of a problem.

"Bluelines move much faster than DTCs and come on time too. DTC really needs to pull up its socks if they have to match the services of Bluelines. Generally, several buses on the same route come at once and then there is no service for the next hour. This can't happen on office days when DTC is the only option," said Prakash Singh, a central government employee.

About 1,600 Bluelines plying on 132 routes were put off the roads from Sunday ahead of the Commonwealth Games. The routes are those passing through New Delhi district and near Commonwealth Games venues. For some buses, the routes have been curtailed to ensure they turn back before entering the designated area where no Bluelines will be allowed. The move is aimed at improving the "image and look" of areas which will be frequented by athletes, delegates and tourists during the Commonwealth Games.

"Special teams are being deployed to ensure compliance of the new rules. Over 1,000 DTC buses are being deployed on these routes and more will be added on Monday and even later depending on the ridership demand. Though everything went smoothly on Sunday, Monday will be critical to assess the real impact of the phase out," said a senior transport department official.

About 230 new low-floor DTC buses delivered by Ashok Leyland on Sunday will also be inducted into the fleet to augment services.

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