Depots will be run as profit centres, earning their keep
Shivani Chaturvedi | July 26, 2010
The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus depots will soon have to do without government handholding. The transport authority is aiming at cutting its losses - believed to be at Rs 30-40 crore a month - by making them earn their keep.
Each depot is to be run as a cost-profit centre, generating enough revenue to take care of the staff's salaries, CNG for buses apart from running and maintenance costs, a DTC official said.
Abysmal bus frequency on certain routes during peak hours and buses idling at the depots are causing daily operational losses of around Rs 1.5 crore for the DTC, the official added. So, the depot managers at all 40 depots - proposed centres - have been asked to ensure zero-idling and an increased frequency in buses on certain routes between 7.30 am and 10.30 am and from 4 pm to 8 pm.
The move will also see the assessment of the depots and setting targets based on their potential. Depot managers, who will be manning these profit centres, will be made accountable for achieving these targets. In case, depots fail to deliver on their target, action will be taken against the managers, the official said.
Any given morning, only 3,524 buses out (on average) of a 5,200-strong DTC fleet ply the Delhi streets. The number falls by nearly a 1,000 in the evening, creating a huge supply-gap in the public transport services which the privately held Blueline and chartered buses rush in to fill. The DTC, thus, loses a huge chunk of revenue from peak-hour commuters.
While officials cite various reasons - from understaffed depots to frequent bus breakdowns to lack of motivation among bus drivers and conductors - for the flailing services, they hope that the move would kick-in much needed reforms at DTC. "The ongoing recruitment of drivers and conductors will take care of the problem of being understaffed in a month or two," the official said.
Further, adequate arrangemnets for machineries and resources will be made to tackle breakdowns, he added.
"To boost flagging morales among the drivers and conductors, incentives based on daily collection will be introduced once the profit-centre move catches on," he said.
The authorities foresee a 50 pc drop in losses if the move is implemented completely by October this year.
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